Google makes it personal

1 May 2007

This morning Google users all over Europe woke up to find iGoogle, the new tweaked personalised homepage from Google, with the ability to create and add your own widgets.

Five days after the personalised homepages of Google users from all around the world were completely wiped, Google has launched iGoogle.

However, there has still been no official word on how many users were affected by last Thursday’s crash or whether it had anything to do with the introduction of this new service.

One Google official had originally suggested that users changing the ‘theme’ settings, originally only for US users but made available today “on every edition of iGoogle around the world”, was culpable for the crash; however, European user feedback on the Google forum made it clear that they had not been using this at all.

Themes are not the only new introduction to iGoogle. A Google official said that they choose the name iGoogle because it “connotes interactivity, the internet, and personalisation all at once.”

With this in mind they have redesigned the homepage as a more interactive, customisable and personal portal. Users have access to new features such as Google Notes, a type of collection or research tool for collecting pages from web searches, and adding them to the notebook as you go along.

Although widgets like Google Map, To Do List or Currency Converter are already available for Google homepages, now users will be able to create their own.

“Starting today, without having any programming or web design experience at all, anyone can create Google Gadgets for iGoogle and send them to friends. Simple gadget templates include a photo gadget, a ‘GoogleGram’ greeting card-style gadget, a YouTube video channel gadget and a freeform gadget,” said Sophia Brueckner, software engineer for iGoogle.

Just a year ago Google was listed as No 7 in the list of world’s most valuable brands; now they are officially No 1.

Google is No 1 for search and a leader in online marketing, with the recent addition of DoubleClick to its camp. This expansion of a social networking, interactive aspect to its homepages sees it nudging into MySpace and Bebo territory. Perhaps the next acquisition will be a pure social networking site or perhaps Google will launch its own.

By Marie Boran