By Joel Hruska | Published: May 01, 2007 – 11:05PM CT
Gadgets can also be set to update automatically, so that your friends and family receive a new one every day. Given just how much most people love getting their “Joke of the Day” from Great-Aunt Hilda, putting this feature on auto-send may be the best way to get yourself uninvited to all those annoying family get-togethers. iGoogle has also updated the number of themes available in countries outside the US: starting today, all the US themes will be available across the world, and iGoogle itself is debuting in an additional 22 locales.
The overall trend towards a more personalized Google experience is also reflected in the company’s new use for Google Maps data. Supposedly, if Google has saved your location in Google Maps, the system will now begin attempting to skew search results towards your location when non-distinct words are searched. I’ve not yet seen a difference in search results after setting my own defaults to Louisville, Kentucky, but the feature is new and may take some time to fully integrate.
With iGoogle, Google is trying to push the concept of Google as more than just a search engine, while allowing users to selectively incorporate the additional data they see rather than simply throwing it at them a la Yahoo. Encouraging users to create personal spaces at iGoogle not only increases the amount of time users spend on Google’s site, it also opens additional advertising and promotional opportunities, all of which the company would welcome as it continues to look beyond its search engine for additional revenue sources.