The New and Improved iGoogle

    October 22, 2008
    Chris Crum

Google has rolled out a new version of homepage customizer iGoogle. They say they’ve rolled it out to all U.S. users, but that would include me, and I have seen no signs of it on my page, so apparently "all" is a little strong. Hopefully I will be included soon, because being a fan of iGoogle, I would find the new features quite useful.

The biggest of those features is the "canvas view" that comes with it, which allows you to view the contents of some gadgets without leaving the iGoogle page. For example with the old version if you want to look at your gmail account from iGoogle, you can see your inbox, but if you click on a message you will be directed to the actual page at Gmail. From what I understand (I’m still awaiting testing for myself) you will now be able to read your messages without leaving the page you’re on. They have incorporated this ability with a variety of different iGoogle gadgets:

iGoogle Improved Gadgets

Another key feature of the new version is the left navigation, which will allow you to get to any gadget from an organized menu on the left side of your iGoogle homepage (as seen in the screenshot below. This is a huge improvement in design as far as I’m concerned, because it stands now, I have rearranged the gadgets around my page i don’t know how many times, and can still not really come up with an organization that I really like (and have to look around for a while to find them sometimes). Having a navigation menu on the left with a canvas view for gadgets will be much more convenient.

iGoogle Screenshot

I only hope that the gadget developers crank out the canvas view compatibility so the number of supported gadgets increases quickly. Google expects them to. First though, I’d just like to be able to see my own version of the new iGoogle.

Update: Well, I’m seeing the left side navigation now, but I’m still expriencing some hiccups with the new iGoogle. I got the canvas view to work on one click, but after that, nothing seems to want to go to it. My Gmail gadget isn’t working at all now. I’ll give it a little time and see what happens.