Google's personalized homepage, named iGoogle, took a significant step forward today when Google announced a sandbox environment that developers can use to start making social gadgets with. This new environment mashes up the best of iGoogle and Facebook -- this should be interesting.
The new iGoogle will still let people add the same gadgets they are used to, but it's definitely more geared toward ones that use the new Open Social API. The sandbox interface has two new items -- a sidebar, and an "update" list that lets you see what your friends are up to. Sound familiar? That's right, it's basically Google's implementation of the popular News Feed on Facebook.
Not only that, Gadgets can now switch to full-screen mode instead of developers always trying to squeeze everything into a tiny box. This is equivalent to Facebook's canvas page that gives an application developer a full page screen to work with.
To watch a video about the new sandbox, click here.
If you are are a developer that is interested in signing up for the developer sandbox, click here. I have to say that I am pumped about this new interface -- it has a lot of potential. I wonder if this will have a significant impact on Facebook since there are twice as many people who set Google as their default browser homepage than Facebook according to comScore? Who knows, Google might win by default if they get it just right.