Google brings out social gadgets for iGoogle

14 Aug 2009

Google is today debuting 19 new social gadgets for its iGoogle personalisation portal and has enlisted online publishers from The Huffington Post to YouTube to bring out media sharing apps for iGoogle.

The company also confirmed that more than 60,000 gadgets now exist for iGoogle.

“Social gadgets let you share, collaborate and play games with your friends on top of all the things you can already do on your homepage,” Marissa Mayer, VP, Search Products & User Experience at Google said in the official Google blog.

“The 19 social gadgets we’re debuting today offer many new ways to make your homepage more useful and fun. If you’re a gaming fanatic, compete with others in Who has the biggest brain? or challenge your fellow Chess or Scrabble enthusiasts to a quick match.

“Stay tuned in to the latest buzz with media-sharing gadgets from NPR, The Huffington Post, and YouTube. To manage your day-to-day more efficiently, check things off alongside your friends with the social To-Do list gadget,” Mayer said.

In recent days Google has been flexing significant social muscle, also announcing social media applications for its Google Reader RSS product.

“Your friends are able to see what you share or do in your social gadgets either by having the same gadgets on their homepages, or through a new feed called Updates,” continued Mayer.

“Updates can include your recently shared photo albums, your favourite comics strips, your travel plans for the weekend and more. To help you manage who you are sharing with, we’ve created a Friends group.

“You can add and edit friends in this group at any time. If you already have a Friends group within your Google Contacts, you’ll be able to easily share with those friends on iGoogle as well. If you don’t care to share, iGoogle’s social features are optional and can be disabled on a gadget-to-gadget basis with just a few clicks.”

The significance of the expansion into more social tools across the Google-scape won’t be lost on developers who have contributed applications across the spectrum, including lately for Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

In many ways developers will emerge as the life’s blood of the new platforms for PC and mobile computing whether for the Apple iPhone, an Android-based netbook or any standard Windows PC where users are avid fans of services like iGoogle, Facebook or Twitter.

“It’s developers who have really made iGoogle into the rich experience it is — growing our gadget directory to over 60,000 gadgets today — and we know iGoogle developers will help us quickly expand our collection of social gadgets,” Mayer said.

Google introduced the new social features recently to Australia, will gradually roll them out to US users over the coming week before they go to the rest of the world.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years