2007-07-17

iGoogle: a custom selection of Gadgets

Browser Bookmarks become indispensable Web-references; they are more than just nice-to-have information and knowledge pointers.

However, when using different Browsers on same or different computers, likely using different Operating Systems, the aggregate working set of Bookmarks is unavailable and eventually fragmented, unused and lost.

I found iGoogle a useful tool to define, catalogue and quickly access Bookmarks from any Browser and from any computer at home, at project offices, at client locations and while on the road.

iGoogle offers a way to configure your classical Google search page by using defined small utility panels, dubbed Gadgets, permitting custom configuration of your default Google search page by selecting a set of predefined Gadgets.

One feature I like is the ability to switch instantly between the classical Google search page and iGoogle, back and forth, via a link located on the top right corner labelled 'Classic Home' and 'iGoogle'. There are times when I prefer the simple unadorned but useful classic search page and switch as needed to the portal view, custom view, of iGoogle.

You can configure several Gadgets in your iGoogle page. The ones I use include:

  • Bookmarks
  • Calendar
  • Time and Date
  • Wheather
  • Gmail
  • Wikipedia
  • News
There are Gadgets for every interest, age and taste. There are jokes and cartoons of the day, games, stock portfolio, finance, sports, etc.

Gadgets work also on the Desktop. I do not use these since what I am looking for is a set of tools that I can access from anywhere independent of Operating System and Browser combination.

Beyond configuring Gadgets for personal use under iGoogle, Gadgets can be developed for use on web applications and pages for custom use or published for general availability.

I had a quick look at the API, xml-based, and I found it simple and a couple of applications came to mind which I'll explore shortly.

References
  • Google. Information in general for Google Gadgets is found here, and the API for development of custom Gadgets is here. For iGoogle find general information here and also at Wikipedia. And there is an API developers guide.
  • Microsoft. Microsoft has a Gadgets-based technology also. I have not worked with this API referenced at microsoftgadgets.com

1 comment:

Screeper said...

Google gadget api's are cool. i developed a countdown/countup gadget to track any events - present, past, future. Any year since 0001 is supported. Give it a try and post your comments. Visit mine at
http://screeperzone.com/