Following last week's release of Google Apps, there is a lot of excitement about the Start Page functionality which allows users to preview and access their inboxes and calendars, find relevant information from your organization or business, and search the web. Why do users like this so much? Because the ideal end-user portal not only has company information like dashboards, business data feeds, and enterprise search, but also combines personal information like news and stock tickers, weather, sports scores, and various RSS feeds from favorite news sources and blogs. The Google Start Page in Google Apps gives users just that, access to the thousands of Google Personalized Homepage Modules from which they can pick and choose what best serves their information needs.

In a great move to further break down this barrier between the traditional enterprise and the vast amount of information and resources available on the Internet, IBM announced support for Google Gadgets within WebSphere. I think this is a major win for users everywhere, and furthers the trend of bringing great consumer driven innovation into the old world of enterprise IT.