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"The Personalized Home Page: A New Tool for Keeping Up"
by Tom Goodman
August 3, 2006

The internet is a great source of information, but it’s useful only if you have ways to manage all that information.  I’ve discovered one way to do this through the Google Personalized Home Page.

When I open my web browser, the first thing I see is a page of links from web pages that I have chosen: news from around the world, local weather, selected weblogs, my Netflix account status, and so on.  The page allows me to check the content on various websites all on one page.  I can then click the headlines of items that interest me, and the browser will go to the website where that headline and story can be found.

Here’s how to set up your Google Personalized Home Page:

First, go to www.google.com.  On the upper right corner, click on “Personalized Home.”  A sample personalized home page will appear, with some content already provided (weather, Google news, the New York Times, and so on).  Click “Make it your own” and you will see a box where you can check and uncheck from a sampling of content.  Select what interests you.  You can always add or delete content later.  Then click “Show my page.”

Next, on the upper left of your new personalized page, click the “Add content” line.  You can now select the websites you’d like to add to your home page.  If you already know the web address (the URL), click on the line “Add by URL” (it’s next to the “Search Homepage Content” button).

Here are some web addresses you might want to add by URL:

http://christianheadlines.com/bookmarks/ (a site of headlines featuring religious news)
http://www.statesman.com/ (news from the Austin-American Statesman.  You may need to click here to select the parts of the Statesman you want featured on your home page)
http://beliefnet.com/ (commentary, news and interviews on matters of faith)
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ctmag (website for Christianity Today magazine)
http://www.albertmohler.com/ (interesting commentary from the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Oh, and there’s one more you should (shameless plug!).  Add my weblog, “Get Anchored,” using the URL http://getanchored.blogspot.com/.

When you find some content you like, write me!  I’m especially interested in getting reliable websites on good sports coverage.

After loading your homepage content, you can click “Back to Homepage” in the upper left corner of the screen.

Now, you will need to save your homepage using your Google Account.  If you don’t have a Google Account, it’s free to register.  You will find a button on your new homepage that will let you save your homepage.  Once you’ve saved your homepage, you will be able to access it from any computer in the world, not just your personal computer.

Once you have content on your page, you can drag the boxes around to where you want them.  You can also click the “edit” button and change the number of headlines that show up from each website your homepage accesses.  I have 10 headlines from the Christian Post and Google News, for example.
Google Personalized Homepage isn’t the only way to review content from various websites on one page.  Here are some other popular programs if you’d like to check them out:
Awasu - Windows, free personal edition
Bloglines - Web-based news aggregator, free membership
Headline Viewer - Windows, free
NetNewsWire - Macintosh, free and commercial versions
Safari RSS - Macintosh, Requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later
Newz Crawler - Windows, $$
NewsGator - Windows (runs in Microsoft Outlook), $$
Whatever program you choose, I hope you’ll add my weblog, “Get Anchored,” to the content you check regularly!  And send me the sites you find helpful!


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