Google Jazzes Up Personalized Homepage

    March 20, 2007

In a recent update, Google has added a new feature to its personalized homepage that might signal a focused effort to snatch another one of Yahoo’s strongholds away. By allowing users to give their Google homepage a more artistic look and feel, the company is sending a clear message that it wants to become the primary portal for everyone’s Internet experience.

There are certain Internet brand associations that we have become accustomed to in our travels online. The four-toned Windows logo, the exclamatory Yahoo sign, and the infamous Apple insignia are all staples of these companies that have stood the test of the years and have become subconsciously synonymous with the companies they represent.

Likewise, Internet users have become accustomed to the clean, if not mundane, look of Google’s pages. Functionality over presentation has long been the driving force for designers at the Googleplex, and as a result, the company’s websites, while sleek, have come off looking a little bland with all the white space.

That was the case until today, at least, as Google has unveiled yet even more customization options for its personalized homepage. The main feature is the ability to “skin” your homepage with any one of seven potential themes. You can stick with the Classic skin, or spice things up a bit with a Beach, Bus Stop, City Scape, Sweet Dreams, Tea House, and Seasonal Scape theme.

Themes aren’t static, either. When you select a new theme, Google asks for your home city and state so that it can determine how to adjust the theme according to the time of day, which is a swank feature you wouldn’t exactly expect but will ultimately come to appreciate from Google.

My Yahoo, which is currently the standard when it comes to personalized pages, definitely has some competition on its hands now. I wonder, how many more niches will Google try to swipe for themselves?