Apr 22, 2008

How iGoogle evolves - Developers sandbox

Google launched a "playground" for iGoogle gadgets developers. Called "developers sandbox" this is basically a design view that iGoogle gadget developers can use to put more functionality into their gadgets. This sandbox view is basically the future of the iGoogle look and feel for the end user. The developers sandbox includes support for OpenSocial, an API to help developers build social applications, that also allow interoperability with other social networks that adhere to OpenSocial (such as Hi5, Viadeo, MySpace, Friendster, orkut and Yahoo!).

The new iGoogle will also support canvas view, which means that from an iGoogle Gadget you'll be able to open additional pages (without leaving the iGoogle interface like you do now) where other interactive content would be included.

A couple of things of interest for end-users of iGoogle:
  • the new iGoogle interface will also have a toolbar on the left side where you can have an easy-access menu to see which gadgets you have installed, as well as shortcuts to your email or other Google services
  • the new iGoogle Gadgets will support canavas view, meaning they will have internal pages that you'll be able to open without exiting the iGoogle interface
  • there will also be a right toolbar (more like a gadget) where you will be able to follow what you're friends are doing (kind of like FriendFeed), but also that's where the iGoogle Gadgets updates will be posted - so yes, developers of gadgets will be able to interact with your iGoogle page through that section and post news about the gadgets, limited however up to 5 activities per user per day.
  • the new iGoogle Gadgets can contain ads, but only in the canavas view - "Ads will be limited to the canvas view only and certain types of ads will not be allowed" - probably Adsense will be one of the ad type accepted.
  • the new iGoogle gadgets will be able to invite your friends or send messages to other users (up to 10 messages per day) - all with your permission.


iGoogle will evolve more and more into a web 2.0 portal, posing a threat to Yahoo's portal but also to other social networks that will start losing users mainly because iGoogle will do the same thing, and better. Also, Google's efforts lately have been towards helping developers build faster, better web applications - a move that targets moving more and more users online, where Microsoft doesn't have monopoly.