Google has launched a service that lets users customise the information on the google.com webpage. The search company unveiled an early version at the Google Factory Tour on its campus in Mountain View, California.
The Fusion project gives users the option to add news headlines, movie listings or their latest Gmail messages to the start page of the search engine.
The early version has a limited selection of options to add at this stage, but support for RSS will be added allowing users to access any news source that supports the syndication standard.
Although the service is similar to my.yahoo.com, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt insisted that the company is not attempting to create a competing offering. "For the past year, we've been looking at making Google more personal," he said.
Google's decision to base its personal homepage largely on RSS could also indicate that it will make some if its own features available through RSS, Marissa Mayer, director of consumer web products at Google, told vnunet.com.
A user could, for instance, receive Gmail notifications through RSS, or monitor prices for a product on the Froogle price comparison service.
Google has always kept its start page very simple and focused on search. But Mayer said at the company event that Google needed a place to tie together all its products. The personalised Google service is optional, and users who prefer the clean search page will be accomodated.
Google also previewed a new version of Google Earth that uses technology from Keyhole, which Google acquired in October last year.
The product gives a bird's eye view of the world using a range of satellite images streamed to the user's computer.
The firm currently charges $29.95 a year for the Google Earth software. Hanke declined to give pricing information for the upcoming version.
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