Go, Go, Gadget Google!

Sometimes it seems that iGoogle, Google’s popular customizable-homepage, is trying to rival the company’s namesake number (one followed by one hundred zeros) in the amount of options it offers its users. Web surfers can personalize their homepage with themes (a cityscape, Japanese teahouse) and gadgets (miniature embedded windows that display dynamic content, such as RSS feeds or to-do lists). The selection has ballooned as the computer-savvy daily think up new own shareable gadgets or tools.

There even seems to be a growing trend of über-designers wading into the customizing craze. Just last week, for instance, John Maeda unveiled a Google gadget for the Cooper-Hewitt. The artist, graphic designer, computer scientist, and recently appointed president of the Rhode Island School of Design created a virtual micro-gallery featuring the work of the museum’s National Design Award honorees. If you dig a little deeper in Google’s extensive gadget library, you’ll find several other gadgets by Maeda .

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And now we’ve learned that Yves Béhar and the folks at fuseproject have a new addition to the Google family: Creative Consciousness–a design concept with a theme and its own gadgets. The theme, “Earth-light,” acts as a global daylight clock, tracking the sun as it changes throughout the day as well as the seasons; the result is a dramatic and constantly evolving backdrop. The gadget currently available, Global Counter, keeps track of global statistics, updating them in real time (every second!). The soon-to-be-released Surf Seeker will highlight surf conditions in up to two locations and let users share conditions.

“Designing for the Web is no different than designing products,” says Béhar says. “It’s all about function, visual expression, and clarity. Unfortunately, most of the Web does not espouse good design at all.”

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