Google home pages get even more personal

Search engine offers third-party developers tools to help people spice up their Google home pages.

Google on Wednesday released tools developers can use to create small applications modules that can be added to people's Google home pages.

The Google Homepage API (Application Programming Interface) page has information and software that developers can use to create modules, or "widgets," that people can then use to spice up their personalized home pages on Google.

Currently, it's possible to add to a Google home page content such as news, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, recipes, stock quotes, movie times and quotes of the day.

The Google Homepage Content Directory shows staff picks of new modules, including a weather map, date and time, and customized Google logo.

"With the Google Homepage API, developers can now create modules for the personalized homepage. It's designed to be flexible and easy to use, and you don't need to download anything to create a module," the official Google Blog said.

"Widgets are based on the XML file format, with additional JavaScript and HTML hosted on your own server, or--if you don't have a server--at any other public place, including Google Base," blogger and Google watcher Philipp Lenssen wrote in his Google Blogoscoped blog.

Gary Price of Search Engine Watch.com wrote in his blog that the service seems to run counter to Google's trademark clean and uncluttered interfaces.

"For many users (the ones that help make Google a verb), keeping it bare bones is one of the things that makes Google Google and makes simply gaining mind share (forget market share) a challenge for others," he wrote.

Earlier this week, Yahoo renamed its rival Konfabulator service Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0.

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