How To #1 – Add iGoogle RSS Feeds to Netvibes and Protopage

This is the first of a series of ongoing "how to" posts produced here at You can also find this at our How To page listed under Alternatives on the site menu.

In "From iGoogle to Netvibes in 3 Easy Steps", the Netvibes blog provides a good "How To" for importing iGoogle RSS feeds to Netvibes. The blog also includes a conversion tool needed for the import. Based on our testing, following are a few things to add to the Netvibes instructions, along with instructions for importing RSS feeds to Protopage and instructions for importing Google Reader RSS feeds to Netvibes and Protopage.


A couple of cautions about the Netvibes instructions:

  1. If you are signed into multiple user accounts at Google, the "Grab" step at Netvibes will produce an OPML download file for the Google account you've designated as the default.
  2. When using the Netvibes conversion tool, the “save as file” button for the OPML result doesn't appear in some browsers, but you can do the following to create the OPML file:
  • Copy the OPML result and paste into a text editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextWrangler (Mac).
  • Save the file as igoogle.opml.
  • Go to the "Import" instruction at Netvibes

After import, Netvibes will create RSS feed widgets in tabs with the same tab name used at iGoogle.  If you don't like the resulting layout, you can rearrange the widgets by dragging and dropping them within a tab or onto a different tab.

One thing Netvibes does better than Protopage (and for that matter iGoogle) is its "reader" feature. Every RSS feed you have at Netvibes is a widget and is also integrated into the reader. At Netvibes, the switch to set widget or reader view (as pictured to the left) is near the top left corner of the screen.


You can also use the Netvibes conversion tool for Protopage by replacing the Netvibes "Import" step with the following:

  1. Select the "Add Widgets" tab near the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Select "Import OPML" near the bottom left corner of the screen, then "Upload an OPML file".
  3. Input the OPML file you created at Netvibes and select "Go".

After import, Protopage requires you to do more work. Select each feed listed below "Upload an OPML file" (as pictured to the right) and drag the widget that appears to a tab. We found it easiest to create a new tab for this purpose, drag each widget to that tab and then rearrange the widgets by dragging and dropping them within a tab or onto a different tab. As the picture to the right shows, you will not be able to see the name of a feed/widget until you select it. After you drag and drop each widget, you need to go back to step 1 above to see the feeds/widgets below "Upload an OPML file" again. All your imported RSS feeds will continue to be available until you close your browser.

Google Reader

What Netvibes didn't tell you is you can also import your Google Reader RSS feeds!  To do that:

  1. Go to Google Reader (not the gadget in iGoogle).
  2. Select "Reader settings" under the "gear" image on the right side of the screen.
  3. Select the "Import/Export" tab.
  4. In the "Export Your Information" table, select the OPML download of your subscriptions, as pictured to the left.
  5. Save "google-reader-subscriptions.xml" when prompted. Even though this file has an xml" extension, it is an opml file.
  6. Follow the import instructions for Netvibes or Protopage, or both.

Did we miss anything? Does this help? Let us know here or at:


Posted in Google Gadgets, Google Reader, How To Posts, iGoogle Alternatives, Netvibes, Protopage, Exclusive
2 comments on “How To #1 – Add iGoogle RSS Feeds to Netvibes and Protopage
  1. I am trying to work through these instructions, but does it mean each feed is in a separate widget? I have about 30 blogs I subscribe to and I just want a feed like google reader, I don’t want them dotted all around the screen individually. I think protopage does this, but I can’t find out how to do it!

    • When importing all your iGoogle and Google Reader feeds into Protopage and Netvibes, each feed is recreated as a separate widget. As described above, the process is a bit easier in Netvibes than it is in Protopage.

      We looked for a Google reader replacement in Protopage and Netvibes. From what we can tell, Protopage doesn’t have one that works (including user contributed widgets we tested). In Netvibes, all feed widgets are also integrated into the “reader” view as described above. If you prefer the “reader” view, move all the blog widgets into a single tab and don’t use the tab, use the “reader” view instead.