If you already frequent Google.com to look up stuff on the Web, why not fill the vast white space on that page with news you read and online tools you need? Google Home, a personal Web page service, can wrap together all sorts of content so that you don't have to type long URLs and visit multiple Web sites.
To get started, just set up a Google account or grab your handle and password if you already have one, then click the Personalized Home link atop Google.com. Or, you can visit google.com/ig. The searchable "Add more to this page" link hooks you up with content arranged by topic, such as Finance or Fun & Games, and a display of popular Gadgets. Click Add It Now to grab what you like, and that selection then appears as a new box, or module, on Google Home. We found this setup more intuitive than even that of the no-brainer rival My Yahoo. When looking up new modules for the home page, just make sure to pick the "Add more to this page" link first, and not the general search field for the Internet.
The minimal, clean layout of Google Home mimics the company's other services. While we prefer the tighter interface of Netvibes, that experience was marred by frequently broken feeds. Among the home pages we tested, Google Home and My Yahoo loaded the most quickly, while Windows Live.com suffered the longest delays.
The tabbed layout is convenient for organizing your subjects into topics or tasks. For example, you can set up a Travel tab and add modules containing news from abroad as well as Google Maps, a currency converter, and phrase translator. If you added an ESPN module to your Business News tab, just drag that module up to your Sports tab. You can hide modules one by one; Netvibes lets you collapse them all at once. Google color-codes each tab and lets you rename it right away, but we wanted to add more than six, as we could with the unlimited number within Netvibes.
You can add Gadgets in fewer steps than with the widgets for Netvibes. Just click Add It Now, and Google Home displays a check mark. Google's Gadgets include a world clock, lunar phase, eBay auctions, religious verses, to-do lists, stock quotes, space photos from NASA, yellow pages, Del.icio.us links, and maps. Open coding allows users to add their own widgets, so the library will continue to evolve. At this point, Google Gadgets are more plentiful than similar widgets within the Windows Live Gallery. And Yahoo's widgets cannot be added to My Yahoo.