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How to Develop Google Gadgets

written by: Airaj Fatimah•edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 1/19/2009

Guide to creating your own Google gadgets using the templates provided by Google as well developing Gadgets in the Gadgets API. These gadgets can be submitted to the Gadgets Directory and can be used with iGoogle, Google Desktop and on web pages.

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    How to develop Google Gadgets

    Most of the Gadgets available in the Google Directory are developed by 3 parties like Google users or companies. To aid in the development of these gadgets, Google has provided resources to encourage people to create their own customized gadgets.

    There are two ways to create your gadgets. One is the easy way, where you can use a template to design and develop your own custom-built gadget. No knowledge of programming is needed at all. Simply follow the instructions and you can create your own personal gadget in minutes.

    To develop a gadget using a template, visit the following link: http://www.google.com/ig/directory?source=gghp.

    This will open up iGoogle’s gadgets webpage. On the far right, you will see a title Create your own gadget. Click on Try now>> and you will see seven different templates to choose from. You can select any of the specific templates like Countdown or YouTube Channel or you can choose the free form template where you can write, comment or display anything cool you wish to share.

    My favorite is GoogleGram. It is a Gadget with displays a special message everyday of the week and is perfect for sharing with someone you care about. When you click on Get started, you will be taken to a webpage where you can change the picture or ‘gift’ from the drop-down menu and add messages in the textboxes. After you preview your gadget and are satisfied, click on Create Gadget. Your gadget is created and added to your Google Homepage. Enter the email address of the person you want to share it with along with a message and click on Send Invitations. You successfully created your own personal gadget! Next you can even publish it on the Google Directory if you want or just keep it to yourself.

    Now that was the easy way. The not-so-easy way requires some knowledge of programming language. The difference between the two is the first requires no knowledge of any programming language while the latter does. The Gadget templates provided are limited and very few features can be changed. On the other hand, when you develop a gadget from scratch using the programming languages in the Google Gadget API, you can create it any way you like it, with any format, content or functionality.

    To get started, visit: http://www.google.com/webmasters/gadgets/

    Select Get started from the Create gadgets title. On the right, you will see the How to I start? Here you will find step-by-step instructions to help you familiarize yourself with what’s involved in developing a gadget. For example, under Getting started, you will start with creating simple gadgets, and then you have tutorials on the development fundamentals, Developer tools and more, all the way till publishing your gadget. With the in-depth tutorials provided, it’s a great way to learn a new language while you actually enjoy developing a gadget.

    Knowledge of languages like JavaScript, HTML, Flash, etc., would be helpful in developing these gadgets. But it is not a problem if you don’t possess any programming experience as Google explains all the steps involved in developing your own gadgets in the Gadgets API. It provides many examples which further help in understanding the required concepts. Once you have completed developing your Gadgets, you can submit it to the Google Gadgets directory here: http://www.google.com/ig/submit

    Google has provided many resources to encourage users and Google enthusiasts in developing their own gadgets. Even though Google does not take responsibility for third party gadgets, it does provide grants to help in further developing gadgets it is impressed with. To view the guidelines to receive grants, click on Google Gadgets Ventures on the gadgets homepage or visit: http://www.google.com/gadgetventures/ .Here you can find information on the different grants available as well as how to apply for one.

    Due to Google’s efforts and by providing tools and resources, there are more than 45,000 gadgets in the Google gadgets directory, most of the developed by third party developers.