iGoogle’s New Social Gadgets

August 13, 2009

Google has just launched a new series of social gadgets for your personalized iGoogle home page. The gadgets allow you to interact with both friends and strangers through a series of games and productivity tools.

The initial iGoogle social gadgets include 19 different options. Here’s a look at what they offer and how they work.

iGoogle Social Setup

Your first step is to activate your iGoogle social gadgets here. If that link doesn’t work for you, the functionality may not yet be available on your account — Google says it’s rolling out the gadgets to U.S. users over the next week, so it may be another few days until you can access them.

If you do have access, though, you’ll see a page with all the available gadgets listed. There, you can add any gadget onto your iGoogle home page by simply clicking on the “Add it now” button beneath its box.

Once you’ve added a gadget, you have to give it permission to access your information before its social features will work. In our tests, this process was a bit arduous: You first have to click the small people icon at the top right of the gadget’s window. For us, this didn’t immediately bring up the options; we had to reload the page several times and keep trying it before it finally worked.

The iGoogle Social Gadgets

The first gadget we tested was the iGoogle Scrabble game. It worked fairly smoothly once loaded and enabled. Starting a game is simple: You just invite a friend to join you, then you both play right on your iGoogle screens. The game has a built-in chat function for convenient on-screen trash-talking, too.

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