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Google's New Social Gadgets A Game Changer?

Hoping to see more serious applications added soon for social media management

Although I think these gadgets are lightweight for any kind of serious user, I can't help but think this feeds Google's overall social strategy that must be drawn up on some war room wall at Google.  I think Google could given us more to save time working with our current social networks and social bookmarking.  If you're not saving me time, I'm still trying to find the value.

From

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.

First, we're excited to introduce social gadgets for iGoogle. Social gadgets let you share, collaborate and play games with your friends on top of all the things you can already do on your homepage. The 19 social gadgets we're debuting today offer many new ways to make your homepage more useful and fun. If you're a gaming fanatic, compete with others in Who has the biggest brain? or challenge your fellow Chess or Scrabble enthusiasts to a quick match. Stay tuned in to the latest buzz with media-sharing gadgets from NPR, The Huffington Post, and YouTube. To manage your day-to-day more efficiently, check things off alongside your friends with the social To-Do list gadget.

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.

It's developers who have really made iGoogle into the rich experience it is — growing our gadget directory to over 60,000 gadgets today — and we know iGoogle developers will help us quickly expand our collection of social gadgets. You can get information about how to build social gadgets for iGoogle on our developer site: code.google.com/igoogle.

We introduced these new social features recently to Australia users and are gradually rolling them out to users in the U.S. over the next week. Don't fret if you don't see your iGoogle page updated yet — just check back soon. The Google homepage has always been a place that connects people to information, and we're excited to now also be a place that connects people to each other. We hope these social gadgets make iGoogle an even more fun and personal homepage for you.

More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps

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