Improvements to iGoogle Gadgets for Webmaster Tools

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

We launched Webmaster Tools iGoogle Gadgets last month with excitement—and curiosity. Would you find them useful? We thought you might appreciate the ability to create better "dashboards" for your sites, but there's no better way to tell for sure other than to get it out so you can use it.

After our initial release, we saw clear interest in the gadgets, and plenty of suggestions for improvement. So we've spent the past several weeks working on various areas. The biggest improvements are probably for those of you with more than one site: when you add a new tab of gadgets, your gadgets will now default to the site you were viewing when you added them to your iGoogle page. Additionally, gadgets now retain settings as a group, so if you change the site for any gadget in a group, the next time you refresh that page, all the gadgets will show data for that site. And gadgets now resize dynamically, so they take up less room.

Other cosmetic and usability improvements will benefit everyone. We shortened the tab's title to "Webmaster Tools" to save space on your iGoogle page, and added a Google logo/watermark to each gadget to help distinguish them as a group. We think the gadgets look a lot better, with alternating background colors for table rows to make them easier to differentiate, and improved layout in general. The Top Search Queries gadget now shows each query's position, too.

Some of you did tell us you want a 4-column layout, but we feel that the information we display—including some fairly wide URLS—is better suited to 3 columns. If you do want 4 columns, remember that you can choose "edit this tab" yourself to select an alternate layout.

Update: The 4-column layout is no longer available in iGoogle.

We really appreciate your feedback on these early gadgets, and hope these improvements make them even more useful.

As always, please let us know what you think.