Personalized start pages can kickstart your browser by opening directly to a custom home page designed by you and with your interests in mind. But which one is right for you?
Description: A very easy-to-use custom start page with highly customizable features, Netvibes is a great choice for a personalized start page. There are plenty of options to choose from when adding to your start page, and because Netvibes supports html-based web widgets, the variety is almost endless.
Description: True to form, iGoogle is a no-thrills version of a personalized start page. While not as pretty to look at as other start pages, it is highly functional. The best feature is perhaps its integration with Google Docs, Google's office 2.0 suite. This integration makes iGoogle a good choice for those wanting to turn their custom home page into a personalized web office.
Description: Perhaps the prettiest of the personalized start pages, Pageflakes has a very sleek interface that new users should pick up with no problem and old-time web geeks will enjoy. Packed with all the features you would expect from a mature custom start page, Pageflakes is a solid choice.
Description: Protopage brings the personalized start page into the Web 2.0 world. A fully customizable freestyle drag-and-drop interface where you aren't limited to placing modules in columns, Protopage is the custom start page for those that want to have the latest and the greatest. The integrated podcasting is also a nice feature.
Description: A custom home page with a big, fat, ugly advertisement taking up way too much space, MyYahoo is still a very popular starting point for the web. And, despite not being quite as flexible as the competition, it is a good choice for those who enjoy other features of the Yahoo web portal like Yahoo! Music or Yahoo! Mail.
Description: Webwag is a relative newcomer to the world of personalized start pages, but it has made a great entrance. It matches the features of most start pages, and goes even better by providing Widgets on Demand, which is a neat little tool that will capture a portion of a web page and deliver it to your custom home page.
Description: As you might expect from a Microsoft product, Live has a very nice interface that is simple to learn. Unfortunately, the product itself is rather light compared to other personalized start pages. The default pages don't come with any of the gadgets you might expect like a notepad or calender, and hunting for them takes you to a separate gallery. And the gadgets themselves weren't up to par with the competition from other custom start pages.
Description: Inbox is more of a customizable web portal than a custom home page. It is a little too light on the features to compete with the other personalized start pages, but it is a nice little web portal for those looking for an alternative to Yahoo or Google. Unfortunately, the search engine is more concerned with presenting you with relevant advertisements than search results, so it falls short in that department too.
Description: A scaled down personalized start page with a heavy dose of Web 2.0, Gritwire has some neat ideas, but is only a good start page for those that don't need much more than a pretty RSS reader. The site is very nice to look at, but feels like it is still in an early beta test.
Description: An AJAX custom home page with a not-so-great drag-and-drop interface, MyHommy isn't much to look at. In fact, it looks eerily similar to Netvibes without the advanced features. But what MyHommy does do is offer 1 gig of free storage for music and pictures, and offers a separate 'public' page for sharing with your friends. Not quite ready for prime time, it might be something to check out down the road.