Recently, on a trip to Shanghai, I snapped a bunch of incredible street photos for my friends and family back home. When I logged into my iGoogle page and was greeted by my iGoogle theme, I suddenly wished I could create my own theme out of my Shanghai pictures and share it with my friends - wouldn't that be a great way to personalize iGoogle even further? It turns out that many of you have been asking for this feature for a while too, and we've listened to your requests. I'm excited to announce that after today's launch of the iGoogle Themes API, we can all get started on making and sharing our own themes.

Creating your own theme isn't rocket science. If you can create a webpage, then you can create a theme. There are only three steps involved: designing images for the header and footer, entering metadata and color information in an XML file, and submitting the theme. To find out more about the API, start with the developer guide. You can also take a look at the terrific example themes (shown below) built by designers Yves Behar, Mark Frauenfelder, Troy Lee, and John Maeda that showcase different parts of the API. These themes, along with themes you submit, will be available in the new themes directory for the millions of iGoogle users. So try it out and let us know what you think!

Earth-light by Yves Behar, founder of the San Francisco design studio fuseproject:



Adventures in Lollipopland by Mark Frauenfelder, writer, illustrator, co-founder of Boing Boing, and editor-in-chief of Make Magazine:



Supermoto Mayhem by Troy Lee, designer and founder of Troy Lee Designs:



Simplicity is Complex by John Maeda, graphic designer, artist, Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Laboratory, and recently named as the next President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD):