October 26, 2008

Geek to geek: why I gave up iGoogle

As those of you who read this blog know, I really totally despise one of the changes Google made to their customizable homepage, iGoogle; the sidebar. It's the stupidest addition ever made to anything anywhere.

For reasons unexplained and unexplainable, some pin-headed moron at Google decided that it wasn't enough that we could SEE everything on our homepage, this dweeb decided we need to have a constantly displayed LIST of everything on our homepage taking up a sizable percentage of the left hand side of the screen.

Now, I don't know about you, but I read LEFT to RIGHT. That means everytime I start a new line, my eyes dart back to the left, where I see again the list of things on the page including the thing I just finished reading. It's distracting to the point that I actually get nauseous trying to use the "improved" iGoogle.

No stranger to software (having been a beta-tester on the early precursors of Mozilla and Firefox), I dug around and found two solutions; one that let me use the GOOD version of iGoogle, and the other that broke it so I didn't have to look at the fricking sidebar, but didn't display the other tabs of goodies.

And after a couple of days, I realized something: Google would see that I was still using iGoogle, even though I have been complaining bitterly about it. In fact, because of the work-arounds, the most experienced users who are the target demographic for iGoogle will continue using it.

And being a too-big-to-give-a-crap corporation, Google will see that there is no reason to fix the vomitous mess they've made of iGoogle. "Fuck'em," their president and CEO will say. "They're still using it, so it can't be worth the effort."

The only way Google will fix its mistake is if it sees a decline in traffic.

Here's a way to make them listen:
  1. do not use iGoogle, period, until Google fixes the sidebar issue. They pay attention to webtraffic.
  2. As often as it occurs to you, search Google with variants of "how to remove iGoogle sidebar." If that search string becomes the #1 search on Google, it will touch them where they live.
In the meantime, slug through MyYahoo or NetVibes or ProtoPage.


  1. I just changed my homepage to take me directly to my email.

  2. Totally agree. It was too painful to use the canvas view of gmail. I switched to netvibes.

  3. Netvibes it is, for me too... and I love it!

  4. I left iGoogle last month for this very reason. They admit its the most controversial feature and have the nerve to say "The newest iteration of this evolution may seem jarring to some people today, but we believe that over time, a better-organized and more socially connected iGoogle homepage will be essential to helping us all make the most of all that the web has to offer." - What are these guys drinking? I don't think I'll go back even if they fix it.

  5. I just found this and it seems to work, but does not help in our overall mission to get google to change the look of igoogle.


  6. My story is very similar to yours. I've been using iGoogle for a couple of years. When the sidebar appeared I initially used the various URL workarounds. Then when they all stopped working last week I downloaded the Firefox addon that moves the tabs, but quickly came to the conclusion that I would be better off moving elsewhere instead.

    iGoogle USED to do exactly what I wanted. It no longer does exactly what I want and Google will probably "fix" the current hacks (Greasemonkey, Firefox addons, etc) at some point.

    So I moved. Not really in protest (I am just one user), but simply because it no longer serves my needs, and there are alternatives that DO.

    I know I'm not the only user to do this, but I doubt Google are going to care much. If they DO see sense and change the navigation I may give iGoogle another try.

    I won't be holding my breath though.