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Google starts move to ad-friendly iGoogle

Company is starting to switch users to a new version of the iGoogle customizable home page that can accommodate ads.

Google users are starting to see an updated interface to the iGoogle home page, according to the Google Operating System blog.

iGoogle lets users select various modules such as mail, photos, games, or a to-do list; it competes chiefly with My Yahoo but also with sites from rivals including Netvibes and PageFlakes.

As expected, the revamped iGoogle provides a navigation bar on the left edge of the screen that lets users select iGoogle gadgets and perform other functions. Another feature could mean more dramatic changes to the site, though: a "canvas view" that lets gadgets fill up the whole page also will permit ads on iGoogle.

The change is on schedule: Google said it would start switching users to the new iGoogle look this month. In a blog entry this week, Google said canvas view would be available to more users in July.

Google also is working on changes that will accommodate gadgets that run on the OpenSocial foundation, which at least theoretically will enable them to run not just on iGoogle but on other OpenSocial sites, too.