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What is iGoogle?

Howdy all, sorry for not posting more regularly, it’s been a busy few weeks at the ol’ day job! Speaking of which, I have created a personal homepage with Google that imports interesting information and “widget” apps onto a Google-branded homepage. A few days ago I noticed a little green lower-case “i” in front of the standard primary colour Google logo. Welcome to iGoogle your customizable personal portal from Google. You can now crowd Google’s elegant search box with widgets, apps and aggregated content while checking out the sports scores and upcoming weather patterns. You could actually do this for quite awhile, they just decided to brand it as iGoogle recently.

Now, I’m one of the first people to line up and praise Google for being innovative and brilliant, etc. — but for some reason I felt a little unhappy that Google is heading down this personalization path. I got attached to their search above all else brand. They went the path of basic white for a reason. I like that. I don’t want my Google page to be cluttered with widgets and weather. I just want my Google search box. Akin to the roll-out of New Coke, which was a disaster. Most taste test groups enjoyed New Coke over the Classic Coke, it was better as a product. However, Classic Coke was a brand that people identified with, it was their brand, their taste. Who were the Coke executives to take that away from them when it was part of their identities? The Wikipedia entry on New Coke is a great read if you have a minute.

Anyway, likewise, Google is my brand, my search engine. Google executives- stop tinkering with it. It works fine, yes iGoogle may be better and provide information that I may find useful, but it deviates from the original Google brand that I developed a relationship with all those years ago.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m a self proclaimed google groupie. I couldn’t disagree with you more on this one. I embrace their expanse into this personalized space. I love Google’s philosophy on the open APIs for many of their products and the openness of their widgets.

    I have my gmail widget, my google calendar widget, my google reader (rss reader) widget, my google groups widget, my dreamhoststatus feed widget, and my RememberTheMilk task widget (awesome Web 2.0 app)

    Flip over to my entertainment tab, I have all the movies playing locally, rss feeds for the latest movie reviews, Wii game reviews.

    Flip to my webcams tab, and I can check out the conditions up at sunpeaks, have a peek at the coquihalla, look down at Salmon Arm from Bastion Mountain.

    But here’s the great thing… I don’t have to use any of it. I just fired up another browser (where I never login to my google account) and google is still its wonderful search-above-all-else self (with a couple extra links at the top – totally unobtrusive)

    But….. I suspect that because you log into your google account (gmail, or analytics or whatever), google is presenting you with the basic iGoogle page. Click the “classic home” link up in the top… I *think* this turns off iGoogle for you. 🙂

    As an interesting side note. I no longer even use the google.com homepage search box. All the browsers now come with wonderful search boxes built in…. I pretty much use that little box exclusively now. In fact… I wish I could disable the search box on my iGoogle page. HA! That’s messed up!

    So Google, ya don’t mess up the basic home page search… but please please please continue being cool and coming up with cool things that make my online life easier.

    PS. Your iGoogle link doesn’t work.

  2. I’m with you Jon… I like gmail, google analytics, adwords, and Google’s move into the world of APIs and widgets. It’s funny though, I don’t want everything mashed together.

    The personalization movement and convergence enthusiasts wish all web apps to appear in a mashed state within one interface. The problem I have is that each website and brand has its own personality. It seems a bit borg-like to assimilate them all into one format. Each time this assimilation happens a bit of the original “magic” and personality is lost. Consumers fall in love with brands just as much as the services. Personalization strips the brands out of the equation. I think the usefulness of these services appeals to people with personalities who favor efficiency over emotion. Perhaps interaciting with the brands directly is favored by people whose personalities appreciate emotion and connection over the raw efficiency of aggregation.

    Just some thoughts.

  3. I don’t mind customizability. I’m the first to rearrange the world =) But I find iGoogle very pointless as it is right now.

    Why not just go here instead? Once you log in, you can access GMail, customize your News, set news Alerts (which you can’t do with iGoogle), and customize to your heart’s content.

    So far, I’d rather just bookmark a bunch of useful URLs and open them all in a tab group. I realized that this was exactly what I tried to do with the iGoogle tabs anyway =D

    My biggest beef with the iGoogle setup, though, was news feeds. I love the randomized, multi-source format of news articles in the news.google.ca interface. You can’t do that with iGoogle.

    In my customized view of news.google.com, I moved “Canada” and “Health” up to the top.

    I got rid of the “Entertainment” and “Sports”. No, I don’t need to get an hour-by-hour update of whichever blonde pencil-neck with Vicodin withdrawal is dragged kicking and screaming for her Mommy back to the cushy section of jail reserved for the wealthy.

    I added my own Alerts section which consists of articles that mention the company that I work for. Because that’s how we, in IT, find out what projects we’ll be working on… We can’t just be told, that would be boring. We just have to read it in the news along with the general public *LOL* XD

    — S.

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