iGoogle is one of the most interesting products at the search engine. Reportedly the fastest growing of Google’s offerings, it’s a personal start page or dashboard, but with potential to evolve into something more. Today Google announced “a sandbox for developers that helps them build richer gadgets for iGoogle, which will offer users more powerful and interactive features…”
The announcement also says, “iGoogle’s new features will include left navigation, a maximized or “canvas view” option for gadgets, and social features for gadgets using the OpenSocial APIs. These social features for gadgets will include a friends list and activities displayed through a special updates gadget.”
As Marissa Mayer indicated in her recent interview with Danny (paraphrasing):
[Mayer] reiterated that the Orkut social networking site that Google runs remains strong worldwide. But she said that it might be that for the US and other key markets where it does not lead, the company might need to re-brand or build entirely new social networking services.
Thus Google might be watching iGoogle and potentially looking to that property to become the hub or focus of those new services. (It’s also in a potential position to be a kind of “meta-network” where newsfeeds and updates are consolidated.)