The New iGoogle vs. The New Facebook - iGoogle Will Change My Day More

A lot is being made of the new Facebook profile redesign (a sneak preview being opened to the public week of July 14th) - and there are a few reasons for this. First of all, millions more people use Facebook than iGoogle, both in the US and worldwide. Also, Facebook over time has near unusable and unvaluable - the news it gives me is either not very important, or it is about the tens of people I want just as 'contacts' and not as 'friends.' Facebook's new redesign may clean up the profile page, but what I really want is a way to filter out the noise from people I don't care about day-to-day, similar to what Plaxo allows. If that doesn't happen, that I don't expect expect much to change in my Facebook experience when the profile is redesigned.

But could potentially be much more interesting and seems to be getting overlooked is the redesign of the iGoogle homepage, Google's personalized homepage offering. Last week iGoogle started allowing users to opt in to an early test of the new page; the new features that are being built in right now are the tabs moving to the left, chat being integrated similar to the way it is in gMail, full page views of gadgets (canvas style, similar to facebook's expected adjustment), and an activity feed. To me this change has the potential to turn iGoogle into what Facebook wants to be - a platform for the web. As more and more of Google's offerings get integrated together, and enabled to work inline so that I don't need more tabs or page refreshes, the Google web-desktop package becomes more powerful and more to life. If I can check gMail, chat, view my RSS feeds, and browse Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed via gadgets, all within the comfort of my iGoogle homepage, I don't see myself needing to leave very often. I could do most of this before, but better inline use of gadgets and the addition of gChat means I will less and less have to leave my iGoogle homepage to do anything I want to do.

The new iGoogle definitely has a way to go - chat isn't working for me yet, the canvas pages load poorly, and gMail isn't opening email inline. But the promise of iGoogle seems big, and if they get their act together it significantly change wear I spend my time online on a daily basis. Much more than I'm expecting from Facebook's new profile next week.