A few weeks ago, I wrote about the many Mac-compatible applications, programs, and services offered by Google (one of my favorite companies.) Shortly I after I wrote at article, Google launched a new service – iGoogle. iGoogle is what Google formerly referred to as the “Personalized Homepage.”
According to the official Google Blog, iGoogle is “a name that connotes interactivity, the Internet, and personalization all at once.” After almost a decade of use by Apple, “i” anything (iMac, iPod, iPhone, iTalk, etc) also connotes simplicity, elegance, and ease of use.
iGoogle makes it easy to create a, well, personalized homepage. You can get pictures, thousands of “gadgets” (described below), personal notes, Google Talk, email, stock quotes, bookmarks, AIM messenger, and many more features loaded onto a single page customized to individual preferences.
Google’s vice president in charge of search and user experience, Marissa Mayer, said “I look at personalized search and I think it is one of the biggest advances we have had.”
After setting up my iGoogle page today, I have to say I agree with her. It’s actually very handy to be able to hop online, and check a dozen (or more) bits of information at a glance.
Sep Kamvar, lead engineer for the personalization push said “We want to personalize search. I am an eclectic person, and so is everyone else.”
Not only is it easy to customize your iGoogle page with gadgets, it’s also relatively easy to actually create gadgets. Google has introduced “Gadget Maker,” which allows users to create gadgets via a system of wizards. According to Google, the “gadgets are very simple and are more like containers for things that matter to you: photos, videos, events.”
Further, “Once the gadget is created, you can invite other people to view & use the gadget, and make it publicly available for other people to view & use it.” So whatever you choose to add to a gadget will be visible to the people you invited.
As mentioned, there are thousands of gadgets for use with iGoogle. There is something for everyone. I noticed one that promised “How to Learn Pole Dancing.” I skipped that one, and installed a grammar Gadget instead – today’s tip is “How to tell its from it’s.”