The starter homepage is one of things that I never used to get. Long back when I was learning html, I had created a starter page that was just putting all the frequently visited sites at one place (with their logo) so that I need not type out the url and also I can keep track of the sites visited in that session (the clicked link would change its colour). Making this as the default homepage was all about it.
The last time I tried starter homepage was while trying out web2.0 ( netvibes/pageflakes) starter pages. Full of bright colour, with drag and drop features, ajaxy stuff, yet my usage did not extend beyond signing up and trying out once. And having to remember one more account was making it difficult. I still did not get it.
Finally came google homepage. It should be one of the most underrated services by Google (or I might not have heard about it). Though I initially tried homepage only because I could check if there were new mails in gmail without logging into gmail ( logging into gmail is time limited & restricted in office – but no such restriction for homepage 🙂 )
But now I have added enough stuff to homepage that it makes sense to open one page rather – both to get different content at one place and to login only once.
Most important components are of course gmail, news, reader -which contains digg, delicious etc, game, twitter, clock so on and so forth. With reader embedded on starter page, finally I get the feel of riverofnews concept – easy, simple yet very meaningful, useful for a google-reader freak like me.
To get around the email restriction in office I tried out some back door tactics but did not succeed completely. If I could get hold of one good email to rss converter, I can subscribe to that feed in reader which now embeds the mailing feature. That would have completed the loop without logging on to gmail, but alas.