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Google's Home Page Gets Personal

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Web

Google launched a new personalized service this week that incorporates features such as Google News and Gmail onto the company's notoriously sparse home page.

The service allows visitors to Google's site to display content of their choosing below the query box on Google.com. Examples include headlines from The New York Times or the British Broadcasting Corp., stock quotes, weather information, and as many as nine incoming Gmail messages, says Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products at Google.

The Mountain View, California, company demonstrated the service during a press event at its headquarters.

Currently available for preview at Google Labs, the personalized service allows visitors to include information from 12 different feeds on their view of the Google home page.

Google will add support for a variety of RSS feeds to the personalized service within one to two months, Mayer says. Anyone with a free Google Account can set up a page, she says. The service was rolled out as a beta product, similar to how Google News and Gmail, the company's Web e-mail service, were introduced.

"While this is just the first step in what we hope it will become, we believe it is a very compelling offering," Mayer says.

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