June 28, 2008 |
I don't think there's a single person in the world that feels bad because Google hasn't been able to get its paws on Facebook, the current top social networking site. Try as Google might, Facebook 's Zuckerburg has no intentions of partaking in any sort of affair with the search engine behemoth.
However, it looks like Google is prepared to become socially linked-in itself. iGoogle, the popular homepage that links together all of Google's broad functionality, is catching a social facelift. And that's exactly what it is — we're not talking full plastic surgery or anything, which is expected later this year. For now, the team at Google has added chatting with friends to the homepage portal as well as the abilities to share links from Google Reader and photos uploaded to Google's photo baby Picasa. A safe little step in the right direction.
The big upgrade is yet to come. Google is planning to integrate the OpenSocial API soon to the iGoogle portal, a powerful and promising social API built by Google itself. The integration will serve two larges purposes. First, developers will be able to create social applications that link to iGoogle. That will help promote broad adoption of the homepage portal. Second, iGoogle users will be able to share different gadgets with people on their friends lists. Both implementations will help push the OpenSocial API.
Though I do adore many of Google's offerings, especially the various free office tools available at Google Docs, I've never really been enamored with iGoogle. As many of you may know, my criterion for switching to a single unified site or platform is that it does not cut down on the features, complexity or power of many individual applications. Though iGoogle does offer many fun gadgets, it simply isn't more comfortable to use than my bevy of Mac applications that I'm accustomed to.
With that said, I know a lot of people that rely on Google for almost everything except bread, water and showers. I'm no big GTalk addict, but those folks are out there, and more power to you all. I am most excited about the potential of diversifying the iGoogle gadget list, as many of the applications currently featured get me less excited than I get about a trip to the dentist. I'm a huge proponent of open platform development, because there are legions of innovative and skilled developers working on the next application to really get my juices flowing.
So, for you Google chat fans, your iGoogle page just became more convenient. Information Week estimates the approximate time of OpenSocial API integration to iGoogle to be sometime late in the summer. Keep your eyes peeled for new gadgets and iGoogle integration announcements coming your way soon.