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Google Launches iGoogle Sandbox

Google Inc has launched a new OpenSocial API sandbox which guides developers through building and distributing powerful and interactive gadgets.

iGoogle’s new features will include left navigation, a maximized or “canvas view” option for gadgets, and social features for gadgets using the OpenSocial APIs.

“Developers are an important part of Google’s innovation ecosystem and we’re always striving to provide tools to help them innovate in new directions that will ultimately make the web richer for all users,” Google said.

The social features for gadgets include a friends list and activities displayed through a special updates gadget. The features and functionalities as they appear in the sandbox are meant for development purposes only, and may not reflect the end consumer experience.

The new sandbox is part of Google’s innovation ecosystem as they provide the necessary tools to developers innovate in new directions that will ultimately make the web richer for all users.

By turning iGoogle into a social network hub, Google can potentially convert the service’s built-in user base and perhaps grab some traffic from Facebook.

Meanwhile, in a ZDNet blog, Garett Rogers says that the new sandbox environment is a “mashup” of the best of Facebook and iGoogle, adding the development “should be interesting”.