What is an iGoogle?

I understood the branding reason for de-branding Froogle into Google Product Search. And I understood why Google Search History became Google Web History. But I’m not exactly understanding the re-branding of Google’s Personalized Homepage into iGoogle. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a user of Google/ig (which is what I’ve called it because I didn’t know what else to) since it was launched two years ago. It is my start-page. I go to it several times each day. I evangelize it (along with a few other Ajax-type start pages) to those who I discover don’t use a newsreader, as it is a great way to experience RSS with training wheels.

I just don’t get the “i” part. Like it or not, the “i” prefix has been captured in the minds of consumers by another company noted for its branding acumen. I’m not talking here about a “copyright” issue — I’m sure the other company will not “go there” on claiming prefixes. I’m merely talking about branding at a Rorschach-test level: “What do you think when you see the prefix ‘i’?”

I don’t know, but when I saw the term iGoogle, all I could think of was the recent skit (embedded on left) on MadTV that has become popular on YouTube.

Bonus link: Great background on the evolution of iGoogle at Search Engine Land.

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  • Thanks, Rex. I’ve been wondering what “iGoogle” meant all morning. I rarely use the generic homepage these days, and the iGoogle homepage has no explanation built into it. I wish they’d made the iGoogle logo clickable with an explanation. For all I knew, the iLympics were coming up or it was almost “i” Day, since Google likes to tweak its logo for newsworthy events. 😉

  • I also use the Google personalized homepage as my start page and as soon as I saw that this morning, I had two thoughts go through my mind:

    1. What the hell is “iGoogle” and why has that suddenly appeared?

    2. How long is it going to take Rex to blog about this?

    I don’t get this “iGoogle” business. It’s kinda stupid…

  • Rex Hammock

    Cole, I guess I’ve become too predictable.

  • No, not really. I just figured it was an item that would catch your eye… 🙂

  • Jon

    It almost sounds like an intentional parody of that other company, that also plays off of a reluctant acceptance of their own unwitting status as a verb: “I Google”.

  • What, you cannot say the other company’s name? iUniverse, the “we-insist-it’s-not-self-publishing-but-it-really-is” marketing tool put forth by Barnes & Noble, by any other name is still not the centre of my publishing universe. 🙂

    (By the way, guess how I found you? I googled iGoogle and you were the second one on the list. Good for you!)

  • Thanks for the explanation. I was told to research iGoogle and like other people found that there was no explanation, no clickable logo. How odd ! Onwards and forwards.

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