Build your own Custom Startpage with Google Apps

Tonight I decided to take a break but still wanted to add some pizazz with my new job. It's a small team that I'm working with but it's pretty cool how open to technology they are. Right off the bat, I moved quite a bit of our shared documents over to Google Docs. It was a great move since we have a few off-shore resources as well. Now we all have the same document with the latest updates – much more efficient.

A friend of mine Bill asked me why I hadn't broken into Google Apps. He mentioned another mutual friend, Dale, had used it to set up his wife's business and they loved it. So tonight I did some playing around with it. It's a little clunky, but it just might work… I'll continue evaluating it to see.

I did build out one really cool feature tonight, though. Google Apps allows you to build a customized Start Page and even provides you with the DNS settings in the event you wanted to build it right into your site! For instance, you could make the page! Tonight I built out a Patronpath Start Page:

Google Applications Custom Start Page for Patronpath

Some of the features:

  • Our logo and brand colors decorate the page.
  • Locked content in the left column that includes a common Calendar, the local weather, and of course, the National Restaurant Association feed!
  • The right 2 columns can be customized anyway the individual would like, just like iGoogle.
  • The footer has some custom links in it to a couple of our websites.

It's not huge or splashy, but for a few minutes of playing with a free tool, it's kind of cool!


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