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Social Gadgets; iGoogle Has Expanded Range with New Social Apps

iGoogle

Take a tour of iGoogle

Here's a close-up look at some of the newest iGoogle features, including social gadgets, chat, full-screen gadgets and a left-side navigation bar.

Social gadgets

Social gadgets let you share information and play games with friends. You can tell if a gadget is social if it has the social icon icon in the top right corner. Click the icon to see the gadget's social settings. The figures in the icon will show up inside a border when social options are enabled. To share social gadgets with your friends, use the drop-down arrow and click 'Share this gadget.' Learn more.

social gadgets

Friends group

If you've chatted in iGoogle, or use Gmail, it's likely you've already got a few people in your Google Contacts list. If you click the Friends link in the left side bar of iGoogle, you can add people you're friends with to your Friends group. Contacts can be moved in and out of this group at any time, and this is the only group of people who can see your updates and with whom you can share social gadget activities. Similarly, you can see someone else's updates or social gadget activities only if they have included you in their Friends group. You can order your friends group however you want. They won't get any information from you unless you specifically share a gadget or content with them. Learn more.

Friends group

Updates

What are your friends up to on iGoogle? Clicking the Updates link in the left side bar shows you a feed of activity that both you and your friends have shared via the social gadgets on their iGoogle page. Updates show up automatically if you're signed in to your Google Account and have friends that use social gadgets on iGoogle. You can turn off your gadget updates by going into your gadget settings. Learn more.

Updates

Chat

iGoogle's chat feature, located on the left-hand navigation bar, let's you chat with your friends and family right from your homepage. If you're a Gmail user, your chat list will be updated automatically with all your chat friends from Gmail. If you're new to chat or not a Gmail user, you can easily add the friends with whom you'd like to chat by clicking the 'Add friends' link. We'll then send them an invitation to be your chat friend on iGoogle.

If you'd prefer not to chat with friends and family from your iGoogle page, you can simply select 'Sign-out of chat' in the menu next to your status. Learn more.

Google Talk

Full-screen gadgets

iGoogle is a tool for quick, at-a-glance access to the information you care about. But we recognize that sometimes quick updates aren't all you're looking for, so we've created a feature that lets you expand your gadgets to full screen, or "canvas view," and thus experience much more, and much richer, content.

Gmail gadget

For instance, you can do a quick email check in your Gmail gadget, or open it to canvas view to write and respond to emails from within iGoogle. You can check the temperature in your weather gadget or expand it to get a detailed forecast for a weekend trip. You can watch videos, play games and use countless more rich applications, all in full screen, and all from inside iGoogle.

Expand your gadget to full-screen by clicking its name on the left-side navigation bar or the maximize button on the gadget itself. Click the button or gadget name to return to your regular iGoogle view.

weather gadget

Similarly, your RSS gadgets offer both a quick glance at a given topic and a full screen multimedia view of material you want to explore more fully, including inline videos and photos. If you have Google Reader, you can also keep track of what you've read and star your favorite feeds.

Google Reader gadget

Left navigation bar

The left navigation shows you all your subject tabs (for Sports, News, Music, etc), neatly organized with the gadgets for each tab listed underneath. We think this format makes it much easier to find specific gadgets (especially as your number of gadgets on your page grows) and quickly click them in and out of canvas view.

In addition, the chat feature is located on the left navigation bar, to give you easy, instant access to your friends.

left navigation

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Tags: Have You Taken, Social Apps, iGoogle, tour

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