“Learn Chinese” iGoogle Page Grand Unveiling


NetVibes page has replaced iGoogle page]

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[Update: see also also “Learn Chinese” 2.0]

This is the greatly anticipated (by me) and severely anticlimactic (to you) kāimùshì 开幕式 of my “secret plan” for all those Chinese-learning RSS feeds:

A “Learn Chinese” iGoogle page! (Add the button to your own page)

Current Contents

Blogs* Daily Words Lessons**

*in alphabetical order
**and a dictionary thrown in for good measure

What is it?

For learners of Chinese, this is a way to skim quickly and easily the “headlines” of (currently) 21 a lot of different Chinese-learning blogs and resources all displayed on one page. You can rearrange, add, and remove content to customize the page for your own Chinese learning. The idea is that rather than checking each website every day, you can just click over to the iGoogle page, have a look at what’s new or intriguing and then dive into the content that interests you without clicking on thousands of different pages.

For writers of blogs/Chinese resources, this is a way for us to hùxiāng bāngzhù 互相帮助 and boost everyone’s readership (see below in “What’s Next” section).

Everyone wins!

How do I try it?

It’s absolutely FREE (you don’t even need to sign up for a Google/Gmail account, but if you want to save your settings you should at some point).

Just do this:

1. Click here to tell iGoogle you’re thinking about trying the “Learn Chinese” page.

2. On the screen that opens, ignore almost everything while you scroll down and click the button that looks like this:

(I don’t know what that check mark does)

3. Go to www.igoogle.com.

4. You should see a list of headlines arranged in 3 columns. Here’s a little diagram to show how I organized the stuff (you won’t see these column headings on the page itself):

Blogs* Daily Words Lessons**

*in alphabetical order
**and a dictionary thrown in for good measure

5. Here’s how to use the iGoogle page:

What’s Next?

If your website is included in the “Learn Chinese” page, consider adding the following code to your website (in WordPress it can just be a “Text” widget) and we’ll each get a new subscriber every time someone clicks on it!

<a href="http://laowaichinese.net/igoogle" target="_blank"><img src="http://laowaichinese.net/wp-content/uploads/igoogle.gif" border="0" alt="" /> Add "Learn Chinese" to iGoogle</a><br /> <a href="http://laowaichinese.net/learn-chinese-igoogle-page-grand-unveiling.htm" target="_blank"><em>What's this?</em></a>

Looks like this:

Add “Learn Chinese” to iGoogle
What’s this?

If we get 500 users of the “Learn Chinese” iGoogle tab, it should appear in the auto-complete suggestions for iGoogle adding tabs (whatever that means. If you’d like to know more about that, let me know.)

I don’t currently know of any way to track how many users there are of this iGoogle page. That’s one of the things that makes this grand experiment so fun.

I see RSS feeds as a largely untapped potential for language learning (and in general). I would love to know how to post “a package” or list of raw RSS feeds like this some way other than an iGoogle page created from a dummy email address. But this is the best I could come up with for now. If anyone else has a better way to do this, please do tell.

Something missing from the “Learn Chinese” iGoogle page?

Let us know and I’ll add it if it’s appropriate.

Disclaimer: Laowai Chinese does not take responsibility for any of the content displayed on iGoogle. The “Learn Chinese” page is just an attempt to aggregate all current, quality RSS content that is related to learning Chinese without making any statement or claim about the value of each resource. Any dispute about whether a resource should be added to “Learn Chinese” will be settled via peer pressure in the form of comments on this post.

[Update: Language Learning and Technology (a journal affiliated with Michigan State University) reviewed the “Learn Chinese” iGoogle page in their June 2009 issue (pdf) under the “Emerging Technology (pdf)” column.]

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  1. 34 Responses to ““Learn Chinese” iGoogle Page Grand Unveiling”

  2. Carl said:

    I’ve been using iGoogle in exactly this fashion, and I don’t think I’m the only one. If it brings more traffic then I’m all for it! BTW.. fantastic theme music.

    Comment date: Feb 12, 2009

  3. Tommi said:

    Thanks a lot for this! Extremely useful!!

    Comment date: Feb 12, 2009

  4. Rev Matt said:

    Wow, this is incredible! Thank you so much for doing this, it will now become my morning start page!

    Comment date: Feb 13, 2009

  5. Rachel said:

    Brilliant ‘secret plan’, I love it.

    Comment date: Feb 13, 2009

  6. Joel said:

    My dad wants the mp3. I’m not kidding. What song is that?

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  7. Joel said:

    hey what about the language learning category from a more general China blog? I don’t want to water down the page though: http://chinahopelive.net/category/learning-mandarin

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  8. Albert said:


    Re mp3: The music is Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

    Re feed: I think the language category of your blog would be fine. But may I suggest that you “burn” it into it’s own feed at Feedburner so you can track the stats (if you’re interested)?

    For you it would be:

    I can just paste that feed as is right into the iGoogle page, but if you sent it through feedburner first you could see how many people are subscribed to the learning mandarin feed. Let me know what you decide to do.

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  9. Joel said:

    thanks. I think i did it right: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChinaHopeLiveLearningMandarin

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  10. Albert said:

    Alright Joel, you’re in. From now on, whoever clicks the button will get the version of the iGoogle page that includes your site. Would you consider adding the button to your site?

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  11. Joel said:

    当然!i forgot about that bit.

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  12. Albert said:


    Something went wrong with the code copy/pasting on your site. I took some quotes out. Maybe it’ll work better now. It’s not meant to be a added as a link but rather as a plain text widget (so you can have the cool iGoogle button).

    If you’d prefer to add it as a link, just link to


    That’s the auto redirect page I set up so I can easily update the link (as I did when I added your site). Let me know what works. Remember, it’s all a grand experiment.

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  13. Joel said:

    I got it fixed. it’s because I just copy-pasted the code as displayed in your post, and for me at least, it displays the quote marks as curly quotes, half of them going the wrong way. All I had to do is replace the quotes in my code.

    Comment date: Feb 15, 2009

  14. Albert said:

    Oh that’s bad (but good that you figured out the problem). I’m trying to display the code in Courier New now. If anyone else adds the button, let me know if it now works to just copy and paste the code directly.

    Comment date: Feb 15, 2009

  15. Carl said:


    I’m wondering is it just me or is the igoogle image not working? Maybe its just my site, or computer?

    Comment date: Feb 15, 2009

  16. Albert said:

    Carl, et al,

    I’ve FINALLY got the code working correctly. The issue has been (as Joel pointed out at the beginning) the smart quotes that WordPress insists on using. So, may I recommend this plugin if anyone else is considering inserting code into their sight. Whew! Nightmare over.

    If anyone’s added the button to your site and the image isn’t showing up or the link is broken, please try copying and pasting the code again and it SHOULD work this time.

    [fingers-crossed emoticon here]

    Comment date: Feb 15, 2009

  17. Joel said:

    works fine for me!

    i linked it in two different places… is that bad for google ratings or whatever?

    Comment date: Feb 16, 2009

  18. Albert said:


    I don’t think multi-linkage is bad for Google thingummy. That’s all the technical knowledge I have of it though.

    Comment date: Feb 16, 2009

  19. Devi Jones said:

    this is good advice. I’ll agree with all of that.i read it && i really like the content of this blog, so do keep posting and keep the good work up.
    enjoy blogging, thanks.

    Comment date: Feb 16, 2009

  20. John said:

    Very cool idea. Should be useful. Thanks for including my blog on it.

    Comment date: Feb 16, 2009

  21. dustin said:

    Hey Albert,

    Thanks for including nciku in your experimenting!
    Keep up the good work!

    Comment date: Feb 18, 2009

  22. Jonathan said:

    Nothing much to add other than my sincere thanks. You’ve set up a great page here and I’m using it daily.

    All the best, Jonathan

    Comment date: Feb 27, 2009

  23. Joel said:

    Hey Albert. Can you add this feed? It’s for the Chinese vocab/phrases asides: “China Hope Live » Vocab Fun”


    Didn’t remember to include it before.

    Comment date: Mar 15, 2009

  24. Albert said:



    Comment date: Mar 15, 2009

  25. Luis said:

    Can anyone tell me how this works, since I have no idea what this is for?.

    MANY THANKS INDEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    Comment date: Jul 9, 2009

  26. William Fitzgerald said:

    Like that theme music touch!

    Comment date: Jul 17, 2009

  27. Jeannie said:

    Awesome music for your grand opening and your nice work, Albert! I appreciate what you have done! I’ll add the button for sure!

    Comment date: Oct 28, 2009

  28. Rachel said:

    This is amazing. I love it and telling all my UK Chinese speaking friends: http://www.chinesespeakers.org/

    Comment date: Dec 3, 2009

  29. Darren said:

    just added, good stuff.

    Comment date: Dec 17, 2009

  30. kelvinator3000 said:

    im liking the dictionary on the learn chinese igoogle page. Nice one. Iv been using some chinese dictionary software that brings my computer to a stand still when ever its active. I wont be using it in a hurry now!

    Comment date: Jan 6, 2010

  31. peter jiang-learn mandarin said:

    Your effort for teaching Chinese is really great. Many guys will be benefited by your work. A lot of thanks.

    Comment date: Feb 2, 2011

  32. Sarah said:

    Nice introduction about igoogle page. I’m going to try that.

    Comment date: Feb 8, 2011

  1. 3 Trackback(s)

  2. Jul 19, 2009: Mandarin Chinese Learning Resources « My Blog
  3. Dec 21, 2009: Mandarin Chinese Learning Resources « mandaringurl
  4. Dec 21, 2009: Mandarin Learning Resources « mandaringurl

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