Google Personalized Homepage (IG) - Read a post inline
I've been using the Google personalized homepage for a while as a simple "heads up display".
I run RSS Bandit on my laptop; it's too tempting of a distraction to run on my main work computer. I've got the Google homepage set up with my top feeds, plus e-mail and news, and I glance at it during the day to see if something interesting's going on that can't wait until I can spend some quality RSS time.
A cool new feature showed up on my Google homepage yesterday - inline views of RSS posts. The headlines (post titles) all show up as they always did, but clicking the + icon expands the post out so I can give it a quick skim. Neat!
Of course, there's the potential problem that it's more distracting now, but I think I'll actually be less likely to switch over to my laptop (with all 1000+ feeds vying for my attention) if I can just skim a quick post and get back to work.
Why not Live.com?
Since I mostly write about Microsoft technologies, I bet I'll get a comment asking why I use the Google homepage over Live.com's.
I've stuck with the Google homepage mainly because I use GMail, and I haven't found a good Live.com gadget that shows my Gmail inbox. There's one out there that kind of works, but it's basically running in a frame and it feels kludgy. I'm not bagging on the developer of that gadget; I actually wrote one a while ago, but I wasn't happy enough with it to release it.
The difficulty is due to the Live.com web gadget model, which hosts your gadget but requires you to do your own requests via XMLHttp. That's a problem if you want to read content from an HTTPS resource, since browser security prevents permission elevation by requesting an HTTPS resource from an HTTP page. I'm not sure about this, since I've never built a Google desktop widget, but I believe Google's model proxies the requests. That means that Google's servers are doing the web requests and merging all the content into a page they deliver to you, rather than delivering you a page that hosts a bunch of independent "pagelets" which make their own requests from each browser.