Mozilla and Google add the personal touch to add-on hunting

Widgets and add-ons have been a huge success for computing in general and open standards in particular -- so much so that it can frankly be hard to wade through one's options. (Have you ever clicked clear through the Vista gallery?) Both Mozilla and, more fancifully, Google have a new tactic for addressing the problem.

Mozilla on Wednesday announced Add-On Collections, which allow users to showcase the apps they like best. You can even add comments about why you've chosen what you have.

Collections are for sharing -- on the Firefox add-on site, on one's blog, or via e-mail. Doing so sets up a subscription to whatever you've added, and subsequent updated to Other people who discover a Collection they like can can mark it as a Favorite. The higher a Collection is ranked, the more prominent it will be on the site.

(Like to see a farm-fresh collection of the add-ons that make Betanews tick? We built one for you.)

Meanwhile, would your iGoogle home page be better if someone else were running it? Martha Stewart, maybe, or The Donald or Kevin Rose? (It would either be more orderly, more gilded, or more geeky.) Google is now showcasing celebrity iGoogle customizations in, naturally an iGoogle Showcase. Thirty celebrities so far have offered up their iGoogle widget picks for your amusement; you can cannibalize their picks as you will, or save an entire collection as a tab on your own iGoogle page.

Some of the picks don't ring entirely true -- Queen Rania of Jordan seems like a charming and family-oriented person, yes, but I'm not sure I believe she's constantly on the hunt for new recipes for the royal family. But one does believe that the CEO of Zappo's would obsessively watch the real-time map mashup that shows who's buying shoes from the beloved retail site, and one is amused to see how many of Napster founder Shawn Fanning's picks are text-only.

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