Every morning, millions of people log on to their computer to iGoogle as their home page.
The site provides an aggregate of information—weather, news, entertainment, politics—that can be customized locally to wherever the user wants. If a PR pro is based in Chicago, he or she can set up iGoogle so that everything on the page is Chicago-centric.
With constant updates, it keeps users up to speed with what is going on in their market.
But eight years after Google introduced this personalized tool, the powerful search engine has announced plans to phase out the option by November 2013.
In a report by the Associated Press, iGoogle will be eliminated as a part of 30 other products since new CEO Larry Page took over 15 months ago. The mobile version will be discontinued at the end of the month. Page is looking to shift Google’s focus to video, mobile and social networking, according to the AP story.
And with the increased use of apps, tablets and other devices to get all the information iGoogle provides, its importance has diminished.
Yet, many communicators still rely on it every day.
So although the change won’t happen for over a year, here are three quick alternatives for PR pros as iGoogle begins its decline:
NetVibes: A personalized dashboard that offers users real-time monitoring of apps, feeds and even Twitter. It also provides users the option of personalizing their pages in a way that their layout can be specific to their wants and needs. For PR professionals, NetVibes also offers brand monitoring that allows for tracking of consumers and competitors through media sources.
My Yahoo: Like iGoogle, My Yahoo was created through the power of Yahoo’s search engine. Those who use Yahoo regularly will find this option convenient as it can be synced through their e-mail login and can be customized to what the user wants.
Protopage: Can be accessed from either your computer or mobile device. Of benefit to PR pros, there are options to keep bookmarks and to-do lists. Have a lot going on? Protopage has a sticky note option that can be added to your page by simply clicking on the available widgets. RSS feeds are available to stay up to speed with what is going on with the consumer market as well as with competitors.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson