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iGoogle gets a built-in theme creator

Google's personalized home page service gets a new tool that lets users design themes right in their browser. Previously, all designs had to be submitted from third parties.

If you're fed up with having to choose from other people's iGoogle themes, you'll soon be able to create your own.

A new tool, which should be available to all iGoogle users in the next few hours, lets you upload photos from your desktop into an editor that lets you crop them down to fit inside iGoogle's header space. There's also a color picker to change each individual color of your iGoogle page.

All in all it looks quite similar to Blogger's theme editor. The added benefit in this case is that you're able to publish and share your theme when you're done, and it will go out into Google's public directory for others to use on their own iGoogle pages.

A similar tool is expected to hit Gmail at some point this year, but may make its way into Google's RSS reader product first considering it and iGoogle now share many design similarities.

Previously, users were only able to create iGoogle themes using Google's API and submitting their work to the design gallery. This tool also replaces third-party online tools such as igThemer, which let non-tech savvy folks create iGoogle-compliant themes from inside the browser.

Update 9:11 a.m. PST: The tool is still not up, and all mentions of it have been removed from the iGoogle site. I've contacted Google for comment and will update with any further information.

Uploaded shots go up into the top header. Meanwhile, you can pick out what colors you want for the header text and for the tops of the theme widgets. Google