I swore to myself that I wouldn’t write about Ajax desktops for a while (and held steady even though this launched), but today I’m breaking that promise, because Google just did something really cool with their customizable Ajax desktop.
The desktop was launched on July 25 and can be accessed at google.com/ig or by clicking on “Personalized Home” on the Google main site.
As reported by Google Blogoscoped, Google has released a very simple developer API to allow anyone to create and host modules that people can add to their Google homepage.
The API is available here. A module is an XML file and can be an extremely simple piece of code. Most of the modules have been created by Google employees at this point. The directory of available modules is here.
I’ve stated before that opening up the API and allowing third party modules is a great idea for just about every web 2.0 product, and ajax desktops are no exception. Microsoft did this with Live.com (directory is at microsoftgadgets.com), and has a ton of third party created widgets available.
Google’s home page has evolved significantly since July. In addition to news and RSS modules, users have the option of pulling in gmail links, weather, etc. It’s a useful application.
On a related note, Stephen Bryant has an excellent summary of the ajax desktops out there (although it is already dated with this Google API news).