Saturday, December 22, 2007

iGoogle growth

Interesting post at TechCrunch on the growth of iGoogle: iGoogle Google’s Homegrown Star Performer This Year

According to figures from comScore Google traffic increased 22.42% this year across its main web properties (excluding non-US sites and acquired sites such as YouTube). The star performer for the year was Google’s personalized start page service iGoogle which increased traffic in the 12 months to November by 267.64%.

Of course, in total numbers of users we're not talking about that impressive of a figure. This is important, however, in that it shows the beginning of the move to the personal start page. I've predicted before that I thought this is how the average person would make the leap into consuming syndication feeds.

Google introduced their personal start page technology late. They didn't even name their service until last May, and only then after I made fun of them: Google IG becomes iGoogle. Since then the growth has been dramatic. I think it's also important to note that Google (with a heck of a lot of help from Facebook) has pretty much knocked-out their competition in this space.

If you're trying to help people get started with reading feeds, a personal start page is definitely the path of least resistance. Way easier, and less overwhelming than showing them a feed reader. Most people take one look at a feed reader and think, "I don't have time to read all that stuff." iGoogle is the perfect gateway technology. It will be interesting to watch the growth this next year.

6 comments:

Sue Waters said...

I couldn't get through the day without my iGoogle (hopefully you are not going to suggest that I lose this account as well?). In PD sessions I go through and get people to set up their iGoogle page and Google Reader. The problem is I should have remote access to all their own computers so I can make it their default home in their web browser because I am sure that afterwards they rarely, if ever, access it.

Sue Waters
Mobile Technology in TAFE

Kevin Gamble said...

Sue,

Why would I ever want to disable your iGoogle account? :)

I'm starting to see some signs that people are taking to iGoogle. People I wouldn't expect are starting to tell me about it.

We did PD session on using iGoogle, Pageflakes, and Netvibes and asked people to setup, and then share their work two weeks later (using Connect). They did some great stuff. We tried the same thing 5(?) months ago and it was a very different outcome.

More people might be using it than you think.

Kevin

Bud said...

I remember when netscape started their mynetscape service with nearly the exact same feature set in 1998-1999. I also remember when they cut the service and replaced it with this god awful portal thing designed to make money.

Where I see the take up is in personal start pages like igoogle and netvibes. Some people really take to google reader. To get these tools used, you've got to get people in the practice of using them. You can actually mash shared feeds from Google reader, and that can be a fun exercise, one that keeps people engaged.

I integrate these items into my classes.

floyd said...

Kevin,

Good post. I agree that personal start pages and distributed content is part of our web future. In the future, we won't need to discuss "feeds", that's just the mechanism for people to get content. The starter page makes it transparent.

Personally, I wonder if iGoogle is a better product than Pageflakes or Netvibes... it seems a little slow for me. Regardless, it is fun.

Floyd

Kevin Gamble said...

Floyd,

Agree completely. I actually think that both Pageflakes and Netvibes are more functional. Problem is, as we know, the best technology doesn't always win.

Thanks for your comment.

Kevin

Steven said...

I'm not sure what you all mean by the relative slowness of iGoogle vs. Pageflakes or NetVibes. Perhaps its because my iGoogle page consists almost entirely of RSS feeds and only one widget (Google Calendar), but iGoogle pops right up on my MacBook over a decent but not great DSL connection. I currently have 26 feeds on my iGoogle page which gives me a nice 1.5 fold overview of all of the sites I follow closely. I check it first thing in the morning and every hour or so throughout the day. One thing I would change would be to have links over, say, an hour old rendered in a different color.