Google Personalized Home Just Got Sweeter

googleigI came in to work this morning, headed over to my Google Personalized “Portal” and what was there? A sweet new feature! Google/ig is now themable! (with a few pre-built themes).

The style of art used in the themes are to my taste and make for a pretty fun layout. You can select from:


Classic
google_classic

Beach
google_beach

Bus Stop
google_bus

City Scape
google_city

Sweet Dreams
google_dreams

Tea House
google_tea

Seasonal Scape
google_seasonal

Now, those are pretty neat in and of themselves, but the sweet feature is the fact that when you select a theme, you can specify your city or postal code and the theme will change depending on the time of day! It’s the little things that make something so sweet. Nice job Google!

My favorite theme is Tea House :)

Windows Live

I just read an article over at Slashdot about Windows Live. It seems that Microsoft has decided to attempt to clone Google/ig, while currently Microsoft’s “Windows Live” is simply a mimic, they promise to have much more.

What’s Google/ig? Its a drag and drop portal-like web app that aggregates rss feeds and some handy tools; like the weather, movie reviews, word of the day, etc. Google/ig is simplistic. Its sexy. Its Ajax heavy (which isn’t a bad thing). I’ve been using Google/ig since they released it to the public and have been thoroughly impressed. Once again Google has set the bar high enough that Microsoft has taken notice and is attempting to duplicate….and they are doing it well.

Whats sexy about Windows Live?

  • Its Free
  • Its Simplistic
  • Its using a crap ton of AJAX
  • Windows Live supposedly expects to have an online Microsoft Office Suite that will be paid for by using ads rather than money from my wallet (sounds like Writely)
  • Check out this article at TechCrunch.com for more stuff that is planned.

But in addition to all that, it seems Microsoft has adopted the Web 2.0 method of using a perpetual beta. Think about it. When was the last time that happened from Microsoft? Oh, and along with the public beta release, they also have a happy-go-lucky communication with end users. Right now I’m looking at the Windows Live site with Flock and see the following at the top of the page:

Firefox Users
Firefox support is coming soon. Please be patient :-)

Smiley face and all. Seems more personal. Seems more enticing. Makes Windows Live seem to have promise. Alright, so its just a smiley face and I may be jumping to conclusions…but I highly doubt that even Microsoft can fight the Web 2.0 and its heavy social aspects and its community driven contributions. Is Microsoft conforming? We can only hope.

Well…I can see a major drawback.

  • It uses the .NET passport. Major suck.

In closing, while Windows Live looks nifty and has some pretty cool stuff, I’m loyal to Google and will remain an avid Google/ig user until Windows Live does something that actually wows me and makes me crap my pants.