Google Gadgets

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If you are using Google and your are using the Personalised Home Page, by now you must have heard of “Google Gadgets” — those little applets that you add to your home page and you move around and align them as you wish. I personally think it’s great — I even went to the length of actually implementing some myself.

However, the idea is not new at all! For those of you who have been fans of (the long-gone by now) Netscape, their browser and their home page, you probably remember that quite a while ago they have offered this facility of adding, removing, resizing and moving such little applets on their home page. Which, again, it was kind of cool at the time because it allowed for greater personalisation of the user experience. (Chances are, to be honest, that Netscape is still offering this service, but I haven’t visited their home page in years now!) For some unknown reason though, Netscape didn’t open up at the time this facility to the public — so their set of such applets was limited to only the ones they were providing. Which, of course, contributed to their losing popularity and added another stone to their grave. Imagine what could have been like if by the time Google started, most of the (web) developers had already embraced the API for such little “gadgets” and pretty much everyone was developing such “gadgets” to be added onto Netscape’s home page! Surely, in this case Google would have had no choice but support a similar API to attract developers! But someone up there in Netscape didn’t have the vision — yet again!

Google did though, and looking through their gadgets repository one can find hundreds (at least) of them from really simple (and useless!) ones up to really complex applications. All because they have the vision to open up their product. Sorry, Netscape, but I believe really you deserved it!

One Response to “Google Gadgets”

  1. liviu.tudor

    And speaking of Netscape’s lack of vision and failure in opening up their systems to the developers: have you noticed that for about a year by now they are still not supporting Mozilla/Gecko extensions? So even though their product is built upon the same technologies as Firefox (which does support JavaScript extensions — and because of this, it has a large base of users and developers around it!), Netscape browser’s page for extensions kept reporting “coming soon” for about a year now. Frankly, any decent developer would have given up by now and turned his/her eyes to Firefox. Or any other Mozilla/Gecko-based browser but Netscape!
    Do I sense an absolute lack of visionaries in this company or just sheer incompetence from the directors?