14google

By samooresamoore (1251644870|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

iGoogle Re-Launch

fullcanvas_02.png

Google revamped the iGoogle interface recently. The main changes include:

  • Full canvas view
  • Full feed reading
  • Improved Google Gadgets
  • Left navigation

I am not a frequent iGoogle user but after looking at the Google tour I thought I might have to give it a try. I played around with it and it seems to work flawlessly and look very clean and minimalistic. I might start using it as a full time, one problem is that there seems to be so many gadgets that it's almost too hard to find them.

The problem I used to have with iGoogle was the integration with Google Reader. I want to be able to turn all my feeds into their own widgets, not combine them all into one small cramped widget. Thankfully Canvas view allows you to view full feeds from your iGoogle widgets and Google Reader feeds simultaneously.

One problem I have even with the new Google Reader is how much it relies on GMail and is basically catered around people who use it. Although there are addons for Hotmail and Yahoo and such, there is no way to use my UMich email with iGoogle that I know of.

Overall its a great addition and I would imagine is one of Google's more popular products (besides search).

Google opens up your profile to search engines

I didn't know this but apparently Google is allowing users to create profiles and has been for a while. However now Google has opened up the profiles to search engines. This might not seem like a big deal but it appears to be a trend toward some sort of "Google People Search". Where searching for a name yields the users profile in a sidebar or something along those lines. Google's idea of the profile seems to be something that would have basic information as well as links to other profile services like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, or a personal website.

This isn't altogether a bad idea because in some regards it would give people a little control over what information people would find when someone Googles them by controlling their profile. In last weeks search updates we learned about 123people and other services but it appears that Google wants to join the game of "people search" as well.

Google Voting Information

Google released a voting information site that takes your address and tells you your local polling place. This is all done through Google Maps so you can also get directions. Google noticed a trend of people Googling where to vote so they set up this site. Side projects like this show how easy it is for Google to manipulate the tools they have created into specialized functions.

Google Apps adds footnotes

Google Docs have clearly not even come close to competing with Microsoft Office at this point but it seems like they are making progress all the time. Right after Steve Ballmer mentioned that you "can't even put a footnote" on a document in Google Docs, the feature appears in Google Docs.

google-docs-footnote-2008.png

The issue for Google in my opinion is whether the concept of hosted office applications take off. I'm no fan of Microsoft Word but I just haven't had enough reason to ever make the jumps to Google Docs. The linked ZDNet article also makes a point that Google will have to make everything available offline in order for them to be a complete package. Without an online package Google Docs just seems like too technical to ordinary users or they don't trust their documents stored online (although Google's servers are probably much safer than their own machines). I think eventually Google Docs will go head to head with Office but it's just not there yet.

Google/Yahoo Quick Update

Despite reports that the Google/Yahoo deal is in trouble, the two companies claim they are still in talks with the Department of Justice. This article on paidContent says that if the DoJ comes to a decision then the partnership will be made and wait to see if the government sues. But it's most likely that the companies will offer up voluntary conditions to prevent a future lawsuit.

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