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Online Innovation August 27th, 2009
Google has recently introduced a suite of 19 gadgets to its iGoogle homepage aimed with the twin objective of giving the user, a better visual experience with its open social platform and also to be acknowledged as the new social networking hub on par with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Though it is still a bit premature to claim that iGoogle will compete on equal terms with the current crop of social networking majors any time soon, the continued improvements that iGoogle showcases will obviously give the user another viable option. Since it carries the tag of “ from the house of Google”, iGoogle could find its acceptance in the social networking segment. Google knows the direction the web is headed to and from. That is – information to communication.
iGoogle is Google’s personalized homepage that lets users customize their internet experience by offering them the option to choose the content they are interested in seeing. It gives the user customized news, calendar, games, weather forecasts, movie times, quotes etc.
Flixter– helps users rate and review movies or browse what movies their friends have seen and found interesting
NPR- helps users browse through the headlines across categories and share with their friends stories they find interesting
GoComics is for comics lovers where comics can be seen, reviewed and shared
Chess Gadget allows users to play their favorite game of chess with their friends
Crossword– the crossword puzzle gadget gives them an opportunity to do some crossword puzzle solving with the help of their friends.
Social Photos gadget allows users to share their albums from Flickr as also to browse their friends’ albums
From the Google blog, “We launched iGoogle in 2005 as a way for people to quickly and easily personalize their Google experience with all the information on the web that was most useful to them. Now tens of millions of people choose to use their iGoogle homepage to check email, track the news, watch videos, chat with friends and much more. Today, we’re pleased to tell you about the new social features that we’re introducing to iGoogle”.
“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. Updates can include your recently shared photo albums, your favorite 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”.
Google’s obviously made this subtle move to become extend itself into the social networking segment. The goal is to play a pivotal role at a time when the web’s role is quietly shifting from information to include social communication. The recent release of a slew of iGoogle gadgets is acknowledgement of the power of social marketing.