Google adds social capabilities to personalized home page

Users of the iGoogle home page can now share content and play games online

A collection of iGoogle themes

A collection of iGoogle themes

Google has added a social-networking component to its iGoogle personalized home page service that will allow users to do things like share YouTube videos, play Scrabble and maintain joint to-do lists.

By making iGoogle compatible with the Google-backed OpenSocial API for social applications, developers are now able to add social features to the gadgets built for the personalized home page, Google announced on Wednesday.

At launch, users will have access to 19 "social" gadget applications from Google and third-party developers

iGoogle itself is gaining two social-networking features: a new section where users can build a list of "friends" and another section where users will see "updates" from people on their list of contacts.

Until now, iGoogle has been intended as a Google home page where, in addition to the search engine box, users can access favorite applications like Gmail and content they're interested in, like news articles, syndicated feeds and weather information.

With this new social dimension, it seems iGoogle is extending its reach into the realm of social-networking sites like Facebook. However, Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, maintains that iGoogle remains a customizable home page.

"We still think of this as a personalized home page. Our goal is to have the Google home page be an integral part of our users' day," she said.

That is achieved for some by the standard Google home page featuring only the search box, while others prefer iGoogle. The motivation behind adding a social component to iGoogle was to make it better and more useful, she said.

"Now we're able to offer a much richer experience to those users on Google as they start their day," Mayer said.

The new social features are entirely optional, so users who aren't interested in them can ignore them and continue using iGoogle as they have until now.

Mayer views iGoogle as complementary to Google Profiles, a separate service where people can create a profile with basic personal information and links, as well as complementary to the company's Orkut social-networking site.

Without being more specific, Mayer said "tens of millions" of people have iGoogle home pages.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags igoogleGoogleOpenSocialorkutgoogle opensocialsocial networking

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?