July 4, 2012
Robert Heinlein popularized TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. In another form: you get what you pay for. That is a lesson Google keeps teaching me as they have repeatedly invented useful free tools which they then snatch away. The latest victim is iGoogle, which has been my desktop browser homepage for many years. I like being able to instantly see a summary of items from Google Reader, GMail, and my Google Calendar (do you sense my vulnerability yet?), as well as the weather, CNN, Boing Boing, etc. instead of having a bunch of always-open tabs as some people evidently do.
But this morning Google interrupted me with a notice that they would be “spring cleaning” by killing off iGoogle in November 2013. “Spring” cleaning? Announced in summer and implemented in late fall over a year later? Sure, you’re giving folks lots of time to adjust, but that simply is NOT spring cleaning.
I’ve been stung by Google’s treachery before, such as when they killed off Google Notebook or when they would make a change to iGoogle with no advance notice. Google’s excuse this time is that device-specific browsers make iGoogle less necessary, whatever the $#!! that is supposed to mean. Their real reason for killing it off is no doubt to put more emphasis on Google+, their social service. I briefly joined it and then killed it off as something truly unnecessary to my life, and continue to refuse to use Google+ despite their constant promotion of it. Facebook is already more than I need, annoying me with invites from idiotic time-wasting applications, which I promptly block. I find most television a painful waste of time, but Facebook’s junk applications take that to a whole…’nother…level.
So what to do about the loss of iGoogle? I don’t intend to change my behavior on desktop browsers by switching to using a bunch of open tabs, nor some page of static bookmarks, nor wasting my time trying to recreate iGoogle in Google Chrome through some extensions which will just break when Chrome is updated with zero notice. Instead, I consulted the internet and found Netvibes, which was easy to set up, but although at first I liked it, after a week of using it I went back to iGoogle.