Thousands of developers have created gadgets since we first released the gadgets API four years ago, and millions of people use gadgets every week in Google Apps. Gadgets aggregate content from around the web and perform simple tasks like managing a to-do list. For developers, gadgets are easy to create with only basic HTML and JavaScript. Google Apps customers already use gadgets to add dynamic charts to Google Docs, and to embed rich media, retrieve feeds, or add other functionality in Google Sites.

Today, we're announcing three new features in Google Sites that will make gadgets more useful for Google Apps Premier Edition customers:
  • Start Page template: Site owners can now use this page type to allow individual viewers to personalize specific areas of a site. Pages created with this template, like the one below, allow individuals to add and organize their own gadgets to customize the page. The site owner chooses "Start Page" in the page type menu, and then adds content that they want everyone to see to the top of the page. Each viewer can then customize the page to see their own personal gadgets.

This screenshot shows a corporate intranet for a fictitious produce company, Organic City. Everyone who visits the site will see the welcome message, important links, and company news gadgets. Joe, a farm manager, also sees three personal gadgets that he's added: last year's harvest data, the breakdown of the company's dairy products, and an organization chart. Joe gets not only general company information but also information that is important just to him every time he visits the intranet.
  • Private gadgets: Until now, all gadgets had to be public, which meant anyone who knew the URL could view the source code. Now domain admins can upload gadgets to Google Apps, and only members of their domain will be able to see and add these gadgets to their Sites. You can find these gadgets in a directory with your company's domain name in the gadgets directory.

  • End-to-end security: We've also added support for gadgets to match the security of the site itself. If a Google Site is encrypted, then your gadget data will be encrypted from the source code to the browser.
Developers can learn more about writing gadgets on Google Code. Domain administrators should visit the Help Center to find more information about setting up a private directory for their company.

Go gadgets!