Google hasn’t been known to take the step of integrating their services together very frequently. They offer so many different services, yet often times many of them remain separate like Gmail and Google Reader. It’s a natural combo for Google to put an RSS Reader in Gmail – after all, the new Yahoo Mail Beta has RSS integrated into it, as does the new Outlook and Thunderbird. Given that, I was surprised to read the latest blog entry at the Google Desktop Blog: “iGoogle meets Desktop gadgets.” As the title suggests, Google has incorporated desktop gadgets into iGoogle so that your iGoogle page is much more functional.
Those of you familiar with Google Desktop know that there are two main components, the Desktop Search and the Sidebar with gadgets. Much like the Windows Vista Sidebar, there are a ton of different gadgets that a user can install so that their Sidebar is customized and fits their needs. Those gadgets like the battery life monitor, a dictionary, a music player, and more, are now available to place on your iGoogle homepage.
Adding these gadgets is simple. Here’s how it works:
- Go to your iGoogle homepage (or create one)
- To the right of the page click “Add stuff” and you’ll be taken to the content directory
- From there, you’ll be able to view all of the gadgets and select the ones you’d like
Note: All of the different gadgets are broken down into categories like Popular, News, Tools, Communication and more.
Now, here’s the thing, if you don’t have Google Desktop installed but you’d like to install one of the Google Desktop Gadgets, you’ll have to get the Google Desktop software. It’ll explain this to you should you select one of the desktop gadgets, but you can get it with only the gadget functionality enabled and nothing else like the searching capabilities. If you decide you’d like all of the functionality of Google Desktop, you can enable it later.
With Google taking the steps to combine the Desktop gadgets with iGoogle, The Google Operating System blog pointed out how it would make sense if iGoogle eventually replaced your desktop. The image below is a mock-up that someone in a Google Group created that shows how Google could create an “eDesktop” where all of the online applications would be grouped into one single web app.
If Google were able to come up with something like what’s shown above, I think users would be extremely impressed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a web app where all of your favorite Google Services were integrated together?