Google Personalized homepage API

My first Google homepage widget

Yesterday Google announced an API to add content to the Google personalized homepage using a custom XML file. Last night I coded my first Google homepage widget to display a Technorati Mini on my personalized homepage with a pre-populated value of my blog URL.

Here’s how you can check it out:

  1. Go to the Google personalized homepage and sign-in.
  2. Click on “Add Content” in the top-left corner.
  3. Create a developer section by adding a feed URL of “developer.xml.” You will now see a new “My Modules” section.
  4. Add a module by entering with in the URL field.
  5. You should now have a Technorati Mini section!

If you run into problems try deselecting caching and/or inline in your “My Modules” settings.

There are many different possibilities for additional content to add to this page and different ways I could have coded my module. Google allows you to prompt a user to set preferences and pass in variables to your content. I could have prompted the user for a search term when he or she first loads the module.

These new modules are very different than adding just text or a RSS feed to the homepage. Think of the Google homepage as web version of Konfabulator or Apple’s Desktop widgets with preferences, rich interactions, and the ability to carve yourself a slice of someone’s personal start page.

While you are playing with the Google homepage API you may also want to check out Microsoft Gadgets, Microsoft’s homepage modules to reach that set of users that will use as their homepage with the next versions of Internet Explorer and Windows Vista.