I teach classes on social media monitoring – computer classes – and the students set up iGoogle to find and monitor Media, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, images, key influencers, keywords, CEO and brand mentions and so on. Now that iGoogle is retiring, I need another free service to teach social media monitoring – know of one? And yes, FREE, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached 10,000 companies in Australia in the last few years and convinced them NOT to buy Radian6 etc until they’ve started with a free service!  I was thinking Netvibes but wondered if you have another option? It can’t be a purely RSS play as we need gadgets/widgets for API only based services. Really grumpy ! about iGoogle shutting down – if Google can’t find it on the ‘net, nobody can – but I’m sure there are services nearly as good.

iGoogle will be retired in 16 months, on November 1, 2013.
The mobile version will be retired on July 31, 2012.

How did you come to this decision? 
We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today’s web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips. With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding down iGoogle on November 1, 2013, giving you a full 16 months to adjust or easily export your iGoogle data.

What will happen to the data stored in my gadgets?
All of your personal data stored in other Google products will continue to be available via those products, including GmailGoogle CalendarGoogle FinanceGoogle Docs (now Google Drive),Google Bookmarks, and Google Tasks. Other gadgets, like the to-do list, allow you to export your data – look for the “Download all” option under the drop-down menu tied to the title of your list. Most iGoogle gadgets are created and maintained by third-party developers. If you’d like to export your data, you should contact the gadget creator directly.

I really like iGoogle — are there any other alternatives?
On your mobile device, Google Play offers applications ranging from games to news readers tohome screen widgets.

If you’re a fan of Google Chrome, the Chrome Web Store provides a similar range of options likeproductivity tools and applications to check the weather. In addition, just like iGoogle, you canpersonalize Chrome with a theme.

Let me know what you think. By the way, Google, the classrooms don’t always have Chrome, and it’s not a mobile course. Google Reader doesn’t have gadgets. Not every company or classroom is Google friendly y’know!

By the way: here’s my 7 Steps to Shutting Down a Social Media Site. Could Google have done better?