The OCD among us (including myself) like to have a start page that's aesthetically pleasing while still being useful. I've highlighted one or two such start pages here- I've even mentioned the very page I'm about to talk about, but I think it warrants its own post.
The page is a subdomain of Minimal Sites, which is a collection of beautifully minimalistic sites from around the web. The start page is as minimal as it gets, containing only a search box. The search box is powered by Yubnub. Yubnub can be thought of as a sort of command line for the internet. For example, typing "g" followed by a search term will search Google for that term. Doing the same with "flk" will search Flickr, "wp" searches Wikipedia, and so on. You're not limited to search, however. Typing "gma" will take you straight to Gmail, acting as a bookmark. The same goes for "bl" for Bloglines, "ym" for Yahoo! Mail, and so on. You can check the weather, launch games, and quite a bit more- the list of commands is nearly endless (here is a list). You can even create your own commands.
The only element, other than the search box, on the Minimal Sites startpage is a 'how to?' text snippet. Cliciing it opens up a handy little reference guide.
Of course, it's easy to set the site as your homepage, but this works well as a new tab, too, since you don't necessarily need to put focus in your browser's navigation bar to use it. That being the case, combine this site with New Tab Redirect for Chrome, or Custom New Tab for Firefox (sorry, Safari users- if you guys have an equivalent, I couldn't find it). Once the startpage is set as your new tab, you can open one up, start typing, and off you go.
Got a favorite start page? Lemme know about it.
Startups: Need a good copywriter? I'd love to speak with you; just send me an email.