If you use Google Reader, you’re probably familiar with “Canvas View,” a way to read the full text of all your new feeds from multiple sources on one Web page. Today, that view is coming to iGoogle, allowing you to view Google Reader and dozens of other applications and websites in full within the iGoogle interface. This is a big change versus the widgets (or gadgets in Google terms) that most start pages employ, which simply provide a snippet of content and link out to an external site.
In addition to Google Reader, you can now access canvas view gadgets for applications such as iLike and Flixster, as well as Google products including Docs, Maps, and Google Talk. A number of content partners like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are also offering canvas view gadgets, allowing you to read those publications in-full from within the iGoogle interface.
Essentially, the canvas view gadgets are like iFrames on steroids, allowing you to access a whole bunch of services without ever leaving iGoogle. Compared to links that pop open stories in new windows, the user experience is certainly more enjoyable, and for companies that are able to become highlighted partners, it should be a way to gain more traffic.
Technically, I still use My Yahoo as my start page, primarily because of its integration with Yahoo Finance that allows me to track dozens of different stocks, industries, and model portfolios. But, considering all of the Google services I keep open all day (Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, GTalk), iGoogle suddenly looks like something that could save me a lot of time. It’s a simple change, but one that currently makes iGoogle a bit more attractive than many of its competitors.
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