It looks like Google has launched another service without much fanfare. Gmail’s “New Features” list modestly advertises the new service as “Personalize the Google homepage”, but it looks pretty much like a full featured portal. You can choose which content to display on the home page. Available choices include Gmail (top N messages), weather, stocks, bookmarks, news, arbitrary RSS feeds, search history, and more.
I’m not quite sure if I like it, even though it could undoubtedly be useful. But after adding a few blocks of content to the site, it starts to feel a bit cluttered (particularly in contrast to the extremely lightweight standard Google homepage). I can’t help but think of Yahoo, which started out as a simple Internet directory and later exploded into the portal it represents now. Yahoo now offers many great services, but these come at a cost of navigatability (is this a word?). I hope Google doesn’t go too far in that direction. Interestingly, Google does not mention the word “Portal” anywhere in context with the new personalization feature.
I think I’ll play with the new home page a little over the next few weeks and see if it grows on me.