Google has just launched a new version of their iGoogle UK portal and any user signing up for the first time will now get a new optimised BBC News widget as a pre-installed feature on their portal page. Users with existing iGoogle accounts can find and install the widget from iGoogle listings by searching for 'BBC official news' or similar terms.
There are, of course, already quite a few BBC News widgets out there - mostly simple feed readers created by users. However, the 'BBC News - Official UK Edition' widget has been specially built, and is maintained by the BBC, to meet strict standards and offer an optimised user experience for those who subscribe to this service. Features in the first version of the widget include the top stories from News, the latest video and audio, a 'canvas view' for additional headlines, and share functionality.
As this first version of the widget is optimised for iGoogle, users will need an iGoogle account for it to work properly. To sign up or add the widget to an existing account, just select this link and follow the on screen instructions.
The BBC News widget includes the following key features:
- BBC News top stories and latest video and audio headline
- The 'expand' icon on the top right or 'More Stories' link at the bottom take users to an extended view as shown below
- One of the key features of the new iGoogle portal is the so called 'Canvas View'. This extended view shows additional headlines from BBC News and BBC Sports
- A pop-up menu at the top offers the option to share the widget and recommend it to other users
We might consider future versions of this application which could include additional inline content and enhanced functionalities. We also hope to make it more widely available in the near future to be able to offer the widget on additional platforms to iGoogle, technology and resources allowing. Please watch this space for updates...
We are keen to hear your comments and what functionalities you would like to see in future versions of this product.
Olaf Geuer, Senior Product Manager, FM&T Journalism