Tips for Creating a Common Start Page in Google Apps now that iGoogle is no longer?

Hi Friends,
After finally getting my school's new domain integrated with Google Apps Education Edition, I was surprised to see that Google has disabled its iGoogle start page option. (Perhaps my surprise is because of my own lack of research into this...)

I want to use Google Apps for teacher and staff communication, and was looking forward to everyone sharing the same welcome page... is there a way to do this that I am missing?

Thanks for your help!
Tom

Tags: apps, education, google, iGoogle, splash-page

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Let me play with the settings and see what happens....Thanks, James.
T
James,
My IT department created these domain names for our Google Apps school account:

www.vcstudent.org (start page)
mail.vcstudent.org
calendar.vcstudent.org
sites.vcstudent.org
docs.vcstudent.org -- to make it easier for students to access each of the Apps features

BUT after the student types in that address they are always redirected to:
http://mail.google.com/a/vcstudent.org/
http://sites.google.com/a/vcstudent.org/ etc...

I am not using Sites for the main start page (yet). Does the URL of http://www.asperand.org stay the same after you access it? While I love the ease of access the way my IT dept set it up - having the URL redirect is confusing for some students.

Maybe we are talking about two different things - since you are referring to Sites and I am referring to a school domain -- ????

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Colette
You can use Google Sites within your domain. I use, for example, mail.asperand.org to get to the mail section. I've taken www.asperand.org and pointed it to a Google Site within my Google Apps. As far as I know I can put the various Google widgets that are used on the iGoogle or start page on a Google Site page. The only way that anyone would know that I'm using a Google Site is if they login to edit the site the Google Site URL appears and the asperand.org URL disappears.
This was a major head-scratcher for me, but I finally came up with the point of failure. I trust that mapping works, but some sites resolve to the google.com address, right?

Your public sites (ie. no login required) keep their mapped address
Your private sites (login required) will redirect to the google.com address

I found some proof on the edu help page at some point, but my experience suggests this to be the cause of the problem.

Best,
Mike
I still have the start page (igoogle type page) available... but I prefer to use the dashboard entrance when accessing google apps for education. It is www.google.com/a/yourschooldomain

Cheers
Not sure what your computer issue could be but iGoogle page is NOT disabled. It still works and will continue to work. It is the start page for all of the Google Apps!
From: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=117337&top...

Starting on December 3rd 2008, the Start Page is no longer included for new organizations that sign up for Google Apps.

This change will not impact organizations that signed up for Google Apps in the past; those domains can continue using the Start Page without interruption. If you are currently using Start Page and are experiencing any issues with that service, these are unrelated to this change. Please see the Known Issues page or Sites Help Center for more information.

To provide some context, Start Page was offered to provide organizations with a convenient way to help their users keep in touch with essential information. However, we found that the Start Page wasn't living up to that goal. At the same time, Google Sites has matured as a highly flexible, customizable platform for organizations to create dynamic public and private websites, including pages with gadgets similar to the Start Page. For more information on how you might use Google Sites, click here.

Google is committed to innovating and improving the Google Apps message and collaboration services. Click here to see recent improvements to the Google Apps suite. We look forward to sharing many innovations in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Video and Google Sites in 2009 and beyond.
can you give a brief how to on putting apps into the sites page? I would like to use a site as a landing page as I can not control the apps that students and teachers can add to the start up page but would like to have some of the apps.

Thanks, Steve
Hi Steve,
It sounds like you want to change the landing page for the site. That way, users are sure to encounter the same page and information upon login. See if this page here helps you set that up.
Hope it helps!
Tom

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