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3/26/2009
00:39 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google Launches iGoogle Game Themes

After 10pm PST on Wednesday or thereabout, iGoogle users will have access to new game-oriented themes to decorate their personal pages.

After 10pm PST on Wednesday or thereabout, iGoogle users will have access to new game-oriented themes to decorate their personal pages.The themes -- banners at the top and bottom of iGoogle pages, with related type treatment -- consist of art culled from games like Galaga, Mega Man, Tomb Raider, Street Fighter IV, Mario, Magic: The Gathering, Spore, Dungeons & Dragons, and World of Warcraft, among others.

Google VP of search and user experience Marissa Mayer introduced the addition of game related art to iGoogle at a media event in San Francisco on Wednesday evening.

She explained that the addition of game themes was about allowing people to express their personalities and their interests.

During a conversation following her presentation, Mayer disagreed with my suggestion that gaming themes represented a departure from previously introduced artistic themes and social cause themes.

But gaming themes are by far the most commercial themes offered to date. Certainly the artist themes serve as advertising and branding, as do the fashion designer themes, but the gaming themes tie into a specific product.

It's a smart move for Google and one that shows how important personalization and online community has become to a company that began in search.

For the nine gaming companies that have partners with Google to make their game art available, having persistent ads affixed to iGoogle pages probably isn't a bad deal.

iGoogle is also getting more games, like Mafia Wars. More on this tomorrow.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse a few photos of the event that I posted to Flickr.

Google's blog post on the topic can be found here.

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