Google renames personalised home page, adds gadgets

Google has renamed its personalised home page and added several new 'gadgets,' or mini applications, to the newly minted iGoogle

The company has announced that it will rename its personalised home page to iGoogle, which will now include Google Gadgets. Users with no programming experience or web design experience can create gadgets for iGoogle and send them to their family and friends.

The new gadget templates include a photo gadget, a "GoogleGram" greeting card-style gadget, a YouTube video channel gadget and a Free Form gadget that can link text and images. A "Daily Me" gadget is similar to the increasingly popular Twitter, and will allow users to include daily quotes, brief descriptions of what they are doing at a certain time and other ideas that can be made available to all friends and family, Google says.

Users can choose a gadget template, enter information about themselves, add their friends' email addresses and then use the gadget, says Sophia Brueckner, an iGoogle software engineer. Users can make changes to the gadgets, and some gadgets can update automatically so a user's friends can see new information daily, she adds.

Google also announced that it is expanding the personalised page themes that it unveiled in March for users in the US. Those themes will now be available for all iGoogle editions. Users can choose from six different desktop themes, including a beach, a city or winter hills.

Google announced the rebranding of iGoogle and the new gadgets at the same time its executives detailed how the company plans to defend itself against Viacom's US$1 billion lawsuit against Google subsidiary YouTube. Google rejected claims that it enables copyright infringement on YouTube and noted that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act will be core to its defence.

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