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March 1, 2007

Personalized Homepage Adds Community Features

Google Personalized Homepage added new features that will improve the way you find gadgets. If you go to a gadget's profile page (here's Google Operating System's page), you'll see a list of related gadgets, that was compiled based on users' preferences. You can also add a comment to share your opinion about the gadget and even rate it.

The features are similar to what Google Video has and they will definitely increase the number of users because people like to read other opinions before trying something. Developers will be happy as well because they'll get much more feedback and they'll be able to improve the gadgets faster.

When you add a gadget created by a third-party, Google warns you about that. You have the option to disable the warning, although it's nice to know whether a gadget was created by Google and you can fully trust it or was created by independent developers and you should be more careful when you enter personal information.

You also have the opportunity to check the source of the gadget before adding it. This might be useful to see if the code contains anything dangerous (although it's complicated to decide that just by looking at the code) or to learn from it, in case you want to create your own gadgets.

After you add the gadget, you'll notice two new options in the menu: recommended gadgets and a link to the profile, where you can rate it and post a comment. If you like the gadget, there's an option to send it to your friends.

Update: Here's something I missed. If you add a new tab, Google gives you an option to populate it with gadgets based only on the name of the tab. This is a good way to build a homepage if you don't have time to try all the gadgets, as Google Blog says. Nathan Weinberg found out that "the system relies on many factors, primarily other people who have named their tabs the same way you've named yours, sees what gadgets are popular in that set, and gives you a page of them.". If you already have 6 tabs, here's a simple trick to create a new one (and a new one etc.): go to the personalized homepage and paste this in your address bar:

javascript:_renameTab(); _dlsetp('at=')


  1. This is very helpful! If only the homepage would work better with Firefox on a Mac!

    It works well on Safari and on Windows, though....

  2. This is a bit off topic, but I noticed that your "News" tab in the screenshot above has several feed reader gadgets. If you use Google Reader, you might want to try putting multiple Google Reader gadgets on your Google Homepage.

    Major benefits:

    * You can quickly scan several feeds at once using your feed subscription list (from the full version of Reader), so you only have to manage one set of subscriptions.

    * The Reader gadget syncs with the full version of Reader, so if you read or star something in the gadget, that will be reflected in the full version.

    * You can scroll through headlines using your mouse scrollwheel, so even if you display only 5 items, you can quickly see more.

    Currently, the gadget only allows you to display a folder or a tag in Reader, not an individual subscription, so to see feeds from individual news sites separately as you do now, you'd have to get creative (perhaps create separate tags). As an alternative, you might consider just putting them all into a single folder and view it as a News feedmix; the gadget displays the source feed, so you'll know the source of each headline.

    In any case, using multiple Reader gadgets is a great way to quickly scan a lot of feeds.

  3. I haven't had any problems using Google Homepage with Firefox on a Mac. I do have a couple of wishes though...first, when will we be able to share tabs with others (like you can share notebooks)? Second, when can we have unlimited tabs?

  4. Lynn, you can have more than 6 tabs. Paste this in the address bar when you visit


    Regarding tab sharing, I think they'll add this feature. Netvibes, Windows Live and others already have it.

  5. Help please?
    Over the weekend the tabs on my google home page moved mysteriously from the top of the content area to the left side - which does not work well because I have a not so wide screen and now some of the pictures do not display properly.
    If anyone knows how to put the tabs back on the top and can give me instructions, I would be grateful!

  6. Wow ! We can rate the gadgets on google in a simple click. Great feature. Thanks


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