Today Google announced the redesign of their highly popular iGoogle start page. The start page will have a FriendFeed like feed that shows shared feed items from your contacts in Google reader, their recent photos uploaded to Picasa, Google Talk status messages and shared iGoogle gadgets. Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the same thing as other social networks except that your homepage is your startpage for everything.
Google has reduced the newsfeed down to a single feature. Honestly, this makes a lot of sense and I could see Google being successful with this strategy. The only downfall to the new startpage? Well, it’s limited to Google owned items. Currently there is no way to import activities that your friends are involved in else where on the web.
One other substantial addition is the creation of canvas pages for Google gadgets. That means that Google gadgets function similarly to Facebook applications as well as the new Google Friend Connect canvas pages. It appears that the concept of canvas pages has become pervasive throughout the social web. While I don’t know how many users interact with iGoogle on a daily basis, I know it is in the millions.
That means Google has now developed a way to compete directly with Facebook and other social networks for the first page someone loads when they sit down at their computer.