Google Adds Widgets to Homepage

Apparently taking cues from Microsoft, Google late Tuesday announced that it would allow users to personalize their homepage much in the way Live.com already works. The new feature would allow for drag and drop organization, as well as an API to build "modules" for use on the homepage.

Microsoft allows much of the same functionality through its Microsoft Gadgets framework. Both make use of RSS feeds, and can use various Web technologies to give the mini-applications functionality.

The move by Google should come as no surprise; Microsoft and Google have been locked in a cat and mouse game on a variety of fronts: the fight over Kai-Fu, Microsoft's moves to bite into Google's domination of Web advertising with adCenter, and the tug-of-war with America Online.

"The personalized homepage was created to bring together the stuff that interests you from across the Web," Google software engineer Adam Shah said. "From an engineering perspective, this became an opportunity to create a framework for all types of content and information."

The team behind the new personalized homepage features has created several modules, and are encouraging others to explore the API and build their own.

"It's designed to be flexible and easy to use, and you don't need to download anything to create a module," Shah added.

Users interested in customizing their own Google personalized homepage can visit www.google.com/ig.

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