Last week we told you about iGoogle’s new look, which they’ve rolled out to a few users in June and will continue to roll out to users through July. However, if you’re dying to start using the new iGoogle today you can head to the iGoogle Sandbox Sign Up page and enable the new iGoogle right now. The only catch: Google puts you on the honour system that you’re a developer. If you’re comfortable calling yourself a developer (there are no real checks in place), then go ahead and get started. Either way, hit the jump for a closer look at the new iGoogle.
As you can see, all of the tabs that used to be on the top are now found in a sidebar on the left of iGoogle. When one tab is focused, you can see all of the individual gadgets by name beneath the tab name.
Clicking on one of the individual gadgets will show only that gadget. So far I haven’t seen anything special when focused on one gadget, but if gadgets were made to take advantage of the full view, the fullscreen focus has a lot of potential. For example, this little Gmail gadget—which doesn’t do much when it’s focused—could work more like a Gmail-replacement when it’s focused.
Luckily Google is, in fact, planning to take advantage of this expanded view. I’m not seeing it in the iGoogle Sandbox yet, but the experimental iGoogle features help page shows Google Reader-like views for RSS feeds you’ve subscribed to in iGoogle like the feed for The Onion in the screenshot below.
Finally, as we reported last week, the new iGoogle integrates with Gmail chat, so you have access to the same IM in iGoogle as you do in Gmail.
If you give the new iGoogle a try and aren’t happy with the new interface, you can still switch back to the standard iGoogle by navigating back the the iGoogle Sandbox link below. It won’t be for long, though; even if you don’t enable it through the sandbox, the new iGoogle should be hitting your Google account sometime this month.