Recently I wrote about the Joy of Blogging and using Google Reader. Another Google tool that may be of interest to genealogists is iGoogle. iGoogle allows you to customize your Google home pages based on your interests. Depending upon how you customize iGoogle, you can catch up on the news, see the latest posts from your favorite blogs, check out the weather and even do some quick family history searches - all from one page!
To begin customizing your page(s), visit http://www.google.com/ig. From there, you can begin setting up your customized pages, colors, themes, and most importantly, your personalized content. Below is a screen capture of one of my pages. You can click on the image to see a larger view.
Where does all of this content come from? In the lower right portion of the header, you'll see "Add Stuff." Click on that. You next see a screen that shows all the different gadgets you can add to your page. In the search box, type "Genealogy."
There you will see a variety of genealogy related topics and gadgets to add to your page. The RSS feeds from some bloggers we're all familiar with are among your options. You want it on your page? Just click on the "Add It Now" button.
As you add gadgets, you'll be prompted to see similar items, such as you see on this screen:
Something I enjoy about using iGoogle, is that I can have a condensed version of Google Reader as one of my gadgets. That's more like viewing the crawler across the bottom of a television news channel for quick headlines. I can click on the article to read it, or just see all of the articles that await me in Google Reader. Among the gadgets you can add are searches on Ancestry.com and USGenWeb. Sirius Genealogy offers a couple different age/date calculators.
Now a tip for my fellow bloggers. How would you like to make your blog content available for other people to add to their pages on iGoogle? That is very simple! Visit this page for Publishers and by following the simple directions, in less than a minute you have the html code to add to your blog. Your readers can click on the "Add to Google" button and have the option of adding your feed to iGoogle or to Google Reader. Google states that one in five Google homepage views goes to iGoogle. So would you like to have your blog show up every time one of your readers opens her or his iGoogle home page? It's an excellent option to help drive traffic to your blog.
My recommendation is Just Do It! Get into iGoogle and look around. Change your theme, create pages for different interests. Start adding Genealogy Gadgets and content. Try things out. Have fun with it. Once you've tried it out, come back and leave a comment below. Let us know what other genealogy related gadgets you found to add to your iGoogle! I'm eager to hear about your discoveries!