One of the more popular tools for building social networks, Ning, has adopted the OpenSocial standard, as has iGoogle (Godwin-Jones, 2009). In addition, organization-wide information access, and the ongoing requirement to provide value for money, will increase the demand for tools to enhance collaboration and the sharing of information and knowledge. The effort to develop tools that support collaborative working across the workplace will become even more critical as professionals seek to foster, support and record collaborative innovation. The demand for Web 2.0 and beyond in the workplace-using tools such as SharePoint, blogs and aggregate tools such as Pageflakes to encourage collaboration-seems destined to continue (Hill, 2008).
Scope of Study
Rationale of Study
Overview of Study
This study used a five-chapter format to achieve the above-stated research objectives. To this end, chapter one was used to introduce the topics under consideration, provide a statement of the problem, the purpose and importance of the study, as well as its scope and rationale. Chapter two provides a critical review of the relevant and peer-reviewed literature, and chapter three presents the study's methodology, a description of the study approach, the data-gathering method and the database of study consulted. Chapter four is comprised of an analysis of the data developed during the research process and chapter five presents the study's conclusions, a summary of the research and salient recommendations.
Chapter 2: Review of Related Literature
Historically, a major type of software platform consisted of operating systems that run on personal computers or on servers that are nodes in an organization's network of computers. Software applications such as Microsoft Word that run on operating systems are also installed on these desktop or server computers.42 the software platforms that are central to Web-based businesses reside on servers that are attached to the Internet. Moreover, applications that work with these platforms may reside on other servers that are attached to the Internet. This has resulted in what is sometimes called "cloud computing," in which the software platform and possibly the application primarily reside on several interchangeable computers that the individual user accesses through the Internet. Google's search-based advertising platform is an example. The search engine that individuals use to conduct search queries, much of the software that advertisers rely on for advertising campaigns, and much of the software that publishers rely on for inserting advertisements into their Web pages reside on vast interconnected but indistinguishable "server farms" that Google operates around the world (Evans, 2008, p. 1987).
According to Godwin-Jones (2009), "Like iGoogle, Netvibes uses 'themes' to allow for different looks and also allows creation of widgets. Netvibes allows for users to easily designate pages as private or public" (p. 4).
An example of how to put together a Netvibes site for educational/institutional use is the home page for the Kankakee (Illinois) Public Library. The Bamboo Project blog describes a number of interactive widgets used in a Netvibes PLE. The service that seems to currently be among the most popular with teachers is Pageflakes. In fact, Pageflakes has a specific starting page designed for teachers, which features widgets such as a teaching schedule, Google Research search field, grade tracker, and free access to a file server service. It has an especially large number of widgets available, called "flakes," and features a full, multipage desktop interface. It has some innovative features which have contributed to its popularity, including drag and drop of widgets from one page to another (not only within the same page), and a very nice user interface. Like other integration tools, Pageflakes has recently increased the options for integrating social networking services into its sites (Godwin-Jones, 2009).
The Fox Interactive media has developed a widgets platform called SpringWidgets which works on most of the websites as well as the desktop in contrast to the widget platforms which work today on either websites such as Google Gadgets4, WidgetBox or desktop such as Yahoo Widgets.
A listing of featured Google Gadgets is provided in Table ____ below.
Google Featured Gadgets
Sample User Reviews
Google Calendar gadget
Provides a Google Calendar on the desktop.
1. Definitely could have been more features in this. Quick add and popup alerts especially would be extremely handy for managing the calendar from the desktop completely without having to keep the browser version open.
2. The only complaint is about resize when you change resolutions or screen sizes (netbook - external screen). The gadget size sometimes gets stuck and you have to close and open the sidebar to fix it. Great Gadget.
3. Looks good, except everything on my side bar has a black background except for this calendar.
4. Add Tasks! Would be nice to have the option to see only Weekdays, it would make the display cleaner.
Find, open, and upload Google Docs documents
1. The ability to choose which browser to automatically open docs with would be helpful.
2. Terrible gadget. Doesn't let you upload any files (e.g., image files) like you can with browser Google Docs. Doesn't show shared folders or view in tree structures.
3. Missing too many basics, must have features.
4. Does not recognize PDF files.
Watch today's most popular YouTube videos
1. Need to be able to select playlists/subscriptions/favorites.
2. Could definitely be better if it would set the REFFERER header tag as youtube.com / I personally think that piracy is easier from the YouTube site than an official widget. As such I think that you should be able to watch music videos from your desktop.