July 12th, 2006 | Published in Google Desktop
Now that the Google Desktop Gadget Contest is running, I have a tip for how to personalize your gadget: make it react to what the user's doing. For example, I buy books on Amazon a lot, and I realized that I was doing a very similar query over and over -- looking up reviews for the books I found interesting. I realized that I could create a Google Desktop Gadget that watched for when I was visiting Amazon, and then performed a query on the title of the book I was looking at. Voila, the gadget then displays those Google search results in the Sidebar.
The source code for this gadget (named I'm Feeling Lucky) can be found in the samples section of the Google Desktop SDK.
Here are some other ideas for personalizing that might inspire you:
- When someone is reading blogs, show the top posts from Technorati or Digg or another popular aggregator.
- Silly pictures! When someone is reading an email message, find a picture online, or on their computer, to associate with the sender -- and whenever the gadget sees that person's name, show the picture. Add some utility by making the picture respond to clicks.