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October 16, 2008

The New iGoogle, Publicly Launched

After months of painful testing, the new version of iGoogle has been launched for everyone in the US. iGoogle 2.0 moves the tabs to the left, brings a persistent Google Chat widget and it adds a canvas view that allows gadgets to become full-fledged applications.

"Canvas view allows developers to deliver richer content, games, and UI to users on iGoogle as well as the opportunity to monetize," explains Google. Not all the gadgets take advantage of the canvas view, but this page highlights some gadgets that can be maximized and the list includes: Google Reader, Google Calendar, Gmail, weather, Wall Street Journal and regular feeds. For example, the new Gmail gadget lets you read your messages and send replies directly from iGoogle, but it lacks some features that would've made it a good replacement for the full-featured Gmail: links and attachments are stripped from messages.

Google has been testing the new version of iGoogle for the past three months on a small sample of users and many of them complained about the new navigation interface.

"We're very excited about these changes because it makes iGoogle a more useful homepage and a better platform for developers. And this is just the beginning: expect to see more canvas gadgets created by developers and more new features on iGoogle soon. Not in the U.S.? Don't worry. We'll also be rolling out this updated version in other countries very soon," mentions Google's blog.

The next big thing for iGoogle is the support for OpenSocial that will make Google's personalized homepage more social.

Update: For those who don't have the new iGoogle yet, go to the settings page, change the language to English (US) and then go to this URL:

If you have the new version, but you prefer the previous interface, go to the settings page and select English (UK) from the list of languages. Please note that this is just a temporary fix.

{ Thanks, Pascal, Samuel, Chrissz and everyone who commented. }

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