Rant against iGoogle
Aaron Sloman
Last updated: 28 Jul 2008

Yesterday, Sunday 27th July, I noticed that I could not invoke a google search as I am accustomed to, by typing something in the search panel at the top right of Firefox and then pressing the 'Return' key.

Instead I had to go to

But I did not get the usual mostly empty page with a box in which to type my search query: instead I got a multi-panel web page with all sorts of junk in it -- London tube map, weather reports, news headlines, advertisements, lists of links of various sorts, and worst of all a panel inviting me to visit a horoscope site.

It announced itself as 'iGoogle', something I had never heard of, and a panel came up saying I had been chosen to try out iGoogle and inviting me to fill in a questionaire.

Here are some of my answers.

How did you come to iGoogle
I did not come to it.

It came to me while I was trying to use google search and I was EXTREMELY annoyed

(a) because the google search panel on firefox stopped working so that I had to explicitly invoke google and then type in my search command, while lots of unwanted junk appeared on my screen

(b) because I have no interest in turning google into some sort of general purpose interface to the universe.

I use google search a lot and google news occasionally. I don't want news or anything else to be shoved in my face when I simply want to answer a search question.

The rest of the page was sheer junk. Why should I want a London tube map when I live in Birmingham? Why should I care about how yoga people do headstands. Why give me a sports panel when I am not interested in sports.

Above all it is utterly APPALLING that google panders to the superstitious idiocy of the uneducated masses by presenting a panel about horoscopes. Either you are very patronising or else you have very low intellectual standards and take that stuff seriously yourself.

Now I have to find out how to turn off this junk. Maybe I should just use another search engine.


The question: Typically, how often do you visit iGoogle?
Should have an answer option: I NEVER WANT TO VISIT IT.

Likewise the question: When did you first use iGoogle?

should have an option: i did not visit it: it was inflicted on me.

Two more questions
What if anything do you find frustrating or unappealing about iGoogle?
What changes or additional features would you like to see for iGoogle?
My answers:
I don't want to see it at all.

I have no interest in something that chooses a collection of web resources for me and shoves them in my face when I want to do something else.

I can use my own bookmarks and shortcuts to get directly to sites that interest me.

I also usually keep multiple tabs and windows live in firefox as an extension to my short term memory (especially since I can restore them after a crash or reboot).
Normally I don't reboot because I use SWSUSP2 on Linux instead.

One of the very worst features was that there was nothing on the page telling me how to restore the previous state.

I eventually managed to restore normal google function as a result of sequence of semi-random experiments.
Unfortunately, I don't recall exactly what I did, so I cannot help other users.

Maintained by Aaron Sloman
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham

Date: 28 Jul 2008