Comparing Personalized Homepages





I have tried out the personalized home page option for the 3 major sites: Google, MSN (My MSN), and Yahoo (My Yahoo). All three do a good job to allow you to set up page(s) where you can see the information you care on a single page, and users can easily add/modify/delete content on all 3. Here I will focus on the differences among the three. I will also list recommendations on which one to use based on which criteria you value the most.

Differences

Below are features that are different among the three:

Presence of ad banner: Google and MSN do not have ad banners, while Yahoo does.

Default content selection: Yahoo and Google have plenty of default contents to choose from. MSN lags behind in this area.

Method of navigating between different pages: Google uses a tab, while Yahoo and MSN use a drop down box.

Number of columns: Yahoo allows either 2 or 3 columns; Google allows a maximum of 3 columns; MSN has no limit.

Column width adjustment: MSN allows users to adjust column width by dragging the border. On the other hand, it does not adjust the column widths when the size of the browser window is changed. Yahoo and Google do not allow users to adjust column width by dragging the border, but column widths are automatically adjusted to fit the browser window.

How available content is displayed: MSN shows the title; Yahoo shows the title and description; Google shows a title plus a picture.

Add content by RSS feed: Although all 3 have this functionality, I had a difficult time setting up some feeds with MSN. Yahoo and Google worked fine.

Change background colors: This is available in Yahoo and MSN, but not in Google.

Ability to search for content: Yahoo and Google both provide good results when I was searching for new content to add. MSN lags behind in this area.

Game content display: Google actually shows the game window on the page, so I can play Sudoku or Pacman directly on the personalized home page. Yahoo and MSN both provide just links.

Recommendations

As you can see, there are many differences, and which one to use is largely a personal preference. If you

a) Want a wide selection of content to choose from: Go with Yahoo or Google.

b) Need to personalize the color scheme: Go with Yahoo or MSN.

c) Like pictures: Go with Google.

d) Want to be able to play games directly on your page: Go with Google.

e) Don’t mind using the default colors, and like to use tabs to navigate between pages: Go with Google.

f) Like to have 4 or more columns: Go with MSN.

g) Want to search for new content: Go with Yahoo or Google.

h) Hate ad banners: Go with MSN or Google.

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