Google to Unveil 'iGoogle' Branding

Seemingly taking a page from Apple's naming playbook, Google on Tuesday will unwrap "iGoogle," a new brand for the search company's Personalized Homepage service. News features will arrive alongside the iGoogle site, including a "Gadget Maker" and location based search results.

Google's Personalized Homepage lets users create exactly that: a customized start page for their Web browsing. On the page, users can place "gadgets" containing information they are interested in, be it weather, stock feeds, news feeds from Web sites, and even the current date and time.

The iGoogle name isn't exactly new, as developers of the feature originally planned to name the service as such before the idea was shot down by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Instead, the service was relegated to more generic branding, but remained at the URL: google.com/ig.

Apparently, the surprise popularity of the feature and growth of competing personalized start pages such as NetVibes prompted Page and Brin to reconsider their decision. The company says tens of millions of users have created a personalized homepage, and the feature is growing faster than Google Maps and even Gmail.

In turn, iGoogle will be offered in 18 more countries, making for a total of 40 countries supported with 26 languages.

25,000 gadgets are currently available for the site, says Google, but the company on Tuesday will also release a Gadget Maker feature that will enable users to create their own gadgets without knowing HTML or JavaScript. Seven templates of gadgets will be provided, and users will be able to share their creations with others using the new "My Community" feature.

Moreover, Google is planning to offer users search results through iGoogle that are custom tailored to their physical location. The company is putting huge resources into collecting massive amounts of data on users in order to deliver results that are more likely to interest them. Google recently launched its Web History service that tracks and stores every Web page a user visits for future reference.

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