Google gets its game on

March 26, 2009
Google arranged for scenes from an array of blockbuster videogame titles to be used as backdrops to personalize iGoogle home pages that people use to help organize online lives.

Google got its game on late Wednesday, launching videogame-themed wallpaper for customized home pages and providing a glimpse at online play making its way to the website.

The California Internet titan arranged for scenes from an array of blockbuster videogame titles to be used as backdrops to personalize home pages that people use to help organize online lives.

vice president of search products and Marissa Mayer unveiled the themes at a warehouse party on the opening night of a Developers Conference exposition in San Francisco.

"IGoogle is about allowing people to express their personalities and there is no better way for that than videogames," Mayer said.

"Not only is the artwork unbelievably good, there is a real emotional connection with people."

Nine major videogame studios contributed themes for iGoogle, with titles including "Zelda," "World of Warcraft," "Spore," and "Guitar Hero."

Outside software developers taking part in an Open Social project are creating videogames that people will be able to install on iGoogle pages and play with friends.

IGoogle versions of "Mafia Wars" and Chess.com applications popular on websites such as Facebook were among the games being demonstrated.

"We are looking at putting games into iGoogle pages," said Mayer, who confided she has played "Guitar Hero" and sports games but is a fan of 'rock-dropping' titles such as "Tetris" and "Bejeweled."

Outside game developers showing off iGoogle titles at gathering said they expected their applications to be added to the California firm's custom home pages by the end of the year.

Themes for iGoogle home pages include the works of renowned artists and "causes" such as Conservation International and Doctors Without Borders.

(c) 2009 AFP

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