Google renames home page, adds gadgets

Personalized home page is now called iGoogle and will feature expanded themes plus easy-to-use photo, video, and social networking apps

Google has renamed its personalized home page and added several new "gadgets," or mini applications, to the newly minted iGoogle.

The company announced Monday that it will rename its personalized home page as iGoogle, which will now include Google Gadgets. Users with no programming or Web design experience can create gadgets for iGoogle and send them to their family and friends.

The new gadget templates include a photo gadget, a "GoogleGram" greeting card-style gadget, a YouTube video channel gadget, and a Free Form gadget that can link text and images. A "Daily Me" gadget is similar to the increasingly popular Twitter and will allow users to include daily quotes, brief descriptions of what they are doing at a certain time, and other ideas that can be made available to all friends and family, Google said.

Users can choose a gadget template, enter information about themselves, add their friends' e-mail addresses, and then use the gadget, said Sophia Brueckner, an iGoogle software engineer. Users can make changes to the gadgets, and some gadgets can update automatically so that a user's friends can see new information daily, she added.

Google also announced that it is expanding the personalized page themes that it unveiled in March for users in the United States. Those themes will now be available for all iGoogle editions. Users can choose from six different desktop themes, including a beach, a city, or winter hills.

Google announced the rebranding of iGoogle and the new gadgets at the same time its executives detailed how the company plans to defend itself against Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against Google subsidiary YouTube. Google rejected claims that it enables copyright infringement on YouTube and noted that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act will be core to its defense.

This story, "Google renames home page, adds gadgets" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.