'My Google': Oh My!
My Google is here. Though that's not the official name, that's what the new home page personalization features seem to amount to.
While the move is not a tremendous surprise — we speculated about My Google when Google News personalization was released — it does appear to be something of a directional change for the company (or at least a public unveiling of a strategy — "fusion"), which had long denied that it was becoming a portal.
Google said that it was responding to user demand in creating the alternative home page. Accordingly, for some segments of the Google user population, it should help reinforce usage — along the lines of Google's Toolbar and Desktop search. That may especially be the case for Gmail users, who can integrate the email program into the new home page as one of a number of modules (weather, news, stocks, driving directions and a few others).
Users can drag the content modules and place them anywhere in relation to one another under the search bar. That capability is very nice. However, overall, the new home page is not anywhere near as "robust" as My Yahoo!, nor does it offer as many options to users. But I expect that will change in the near term, with more RSS feeds and product features likely on the way.
Local elements include weather, driving directions and movie showtimes. I would expect Google to integrate more local elements over time (e.g., Maps more explicitly and/or a separate Google Local search module).
Here's the press release and tons more news on the announcement from . . . Google News. (Notice how highly ranked the blog coverage is.)
Here's the Search Engine Watch coverage and CNET's and the New York Times' coverage.