You log in using your gmail address and, much like Yahoo, MSN, and others, you get a home page that is very customizable. I've had the MSN one before and it was trying to hard to be pretty. I wanted something practical, without lots of pictures. What good is it if you have to scroll and scroll to get the the box/gadget/widget that you're looking for? iGoogle gathers some fantastic widgets/gadgets so most of what I need is in one place.
How does this save time? In one place, I can quickly check for updates instead of having to go to all the individual websites and log in. This is what I have on my page:
- Google calendar - I love being able to have my calendar available anywhere I log in, including on my iphone
- Gmail - Where all my business email goes
- Hotmail - For my personal email
- Facebook - It's nice to be able to do quick updates on here.
- Blogger - I can add quick posts to my blog here, but I have yet to try it
- Google Reader - Handles RSS feeds and Google Friend Connect Feeds. I can see any new postings right away and read them without having to go to each blog (unless I want to)
- To Do - A mock notepad to keep track of my to do list. No more losing random pieces of paper in my pockets!
- Google docs - Google has amazing document applications that are free and sharable - check them out
- Time, weather, news
- and a random assortment of nonproductive items like games and YouTube that come in handy when my brain needs a break.
For serious Etsians, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of your favorite shops and see whenever they add new items to the shop. There is also an RSS feed for Alchemy so you can be notified of new Alchemy requests. That one has saved me a ton of time because I can quickly browse it in my reader and not keep going back to check the Alchemy page on Etsy.
A quick glance at the iGoogle page tells me all I need to know. I love it! If you have ideas to share, please leave a comment here. I can't wait to hear what works for you!