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So maybe Google’s trying to cheer everyone up after it had a tough week with the confirmation of Google layoffs and the discontinuation or “indefinite hiatus” of six of its products. Here’s a bright and shiny new offering, according to the official Google blog: You can now personalize your iGoogle homepage by creating custom themes, an ability previously bestowed only upon artists like glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (a favorite of Google VP Marissa Mayer), Jeff Koons and Coldplay. Yes, that means you can ditch the Celine Dion homepage theme and make one dedicated to your cat, like the example below:


All you need is an image (be it a photo, a doodle, or even clip art) to add to your iGoogle homepage — the easy-to-use tool provides the options to crop it, pick custom colors for the background and fonts and preview changes in real-time. You can even publish your custom theme for others to see. For those who don’t want to share their potentially embarrassing or incriminating themes (*cough*), you can keep your iGoogle theme private.  I’m guessing it’ll only be a matter of time before celebrities accidentally make their themes public instead of private.

Custom themes for iGoogle homepages is the latest in Google’s attempt to make the world a more colorful, personalized place — fun and quirky Gmail themes became available in mid-November, though you can’t create custom themes yet.

Unfortunately, the new theme building tool currently loads a blank page, but perhaps that’s just because my laptop hates me, or because everyone else in the world is super-busy creating their custom themes. I’m hoping the kinks get worked out soon so I can create a theme dedicated to croissants. But hey, a blank page is better than looking at Celine Dion all day.

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