A Review of Protopage as a Personalized Start Page

The Scoop on Protopage and Why You Should Use It

Woman Looking at Laptop
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Are you in need of a new home page to look as soon as you click to open a new web browser window or tab? Protopage might be exactly what you're looking for.

What Is Protopage?

Protopage is a personalized start page that you can customize with the information you want to see by using widgets. It's very similar to some of the iGoogle alternatives that are still around today, long after iGoogle was buried.

The personalized start page is an older trend that became popular back when Web 2.0 was still relatively new, but Protopage has been updated throughout the years to keep up with design trends and mobile browsing. In fact, it has a Chrome extension and it's even optimized for use on smartphones and tablets.

Users who create a free account can customize their pages and keep it public or set it to private. In addition to all the RSS feeds you can subscribe to with it, you can also collect bookmarks from around the web, create to-do lists, set up sticky notes and more.

The Pros

Protopage implements a very smooth drag-and-drop interface that acts more like your desktop than a browser home page. You can create new tabs to keep your main tab free from clutter as well.

The modules for RSS feeds are especially nice since you can choose multiple formats to display the articles, and you can even mix in multiple feeds into one module. This makes it a very strong RSS reader.

The ability to display a web page in a module is another bright spot. The smaller the widget, the more condensed the site will be in the widget, but you can click and hold the bottom corners of each widget to drag and resize them, which is pretty convenient.

The search bar is also multifunctional, allowing you to search all sorts of different sites and search engines according to whichever button you decide to click. Search on Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Google Maps, YouTube, Twitter, eBay, Bing, Google Finance, IMDB, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha, ESPN, Dictionary.com, and others.

The last big thing worth mentioning is Protopage's ability to seamlessly dish out podcasts and vidcasts. The volume control that automatically appears in the top right corner is also a nice touch.

The Cons

Perhaps the biggest downside to Protopage is that it doesn't really have any social media widgets, other than one for your Twitter feed. There's nothing for Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or anything else.

Trying to add the website URL for a social network as a web page widget doesn't work either, which is unfortunate. Other than this one missing feature, Protopage is a pretty solid personalized start page.

Why You Should Use Protopage

Protopage is a great choice for those just starting out with their first personalized start page and those who have a lot of experience with them. Long-time start page users will enjoy the greater control over the appearance, the integration with podcasts, and the flexibility of the RSS modules.

Next recommended article: A Review of Digg Reader

Updated by: Elise Moreau