Google is putting extra muscle into its customisable start page iGoogle, which allows users to personalise their page with web feed and gadgets like Maps and Weather.
Having collaborated with over 70 artists to create special themes, the company is inviting software developers to create new gadgets for the pages.
Earlier today, Google unveiled new artist themes from over 70 artists ranging from rockers Coldplay to brands like Dolce & Gabanna to designers like Philippe Starck, Mark Ecko, Akira Isogawa and Diane von Furstenburg.
All the themes are dynamic and change throughout the day.
It is part of a plan by Google to consolidate the popularity of its start page, a plan that in recent days saw the company open a sandbox for developers to help them build richer gadgets for the page.
The search giant has also launched an updated developer website, which guides developers through building and distributing gadgets for the pages’ growing audiences.
IGoogle’s new features will include left navigation, a maximised or ‘canvas view’ option for gadgets and social features for gadgets using the OpenSocial APIs.
These social features for gadgets will include a friends list and activities displayed through a special updates gadget.
In related news, Google’s Street View application on Google Maps has now integrated driving instructions for locations in the US where Street View imagery is available.
By viewing Street View images alongside directions, drivers will have a visual context for intersections and action points along their route.
Street View was recently made available through the Google Maps API, which allows developers to utilise Street View functionality to enhance services.
By John Kennedy