The SIFMA Technology conference is in NY this week (sorry - that's the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Assoc) and I'm not attending, but I know some old friends are. I hope they picked up some good tchochkes for me... anyway...
I remember many (many!) years ago at those shows (then called SIA, and before they brought along the cast of the Sopranos to sell IT services - seriously) there were many companies singing the virtues of their Portal products - trying, of course, to sell to the corporate IT teams to sell their internal bankers, brokers, operations teams, etc. It sounded great - but it was too early. Every solution was proprietary or based on a not-yet-and-not-ever-to-be standard which was "awaiting approval" by the W3C or some other speedy standards body... And besides, the internal products were on dozens of incompatible platforms with really poor integration methods.
But now, about 12-15 years later, I think we're there - and it's the consumer market which is driving both the standards (de facto) and the methods and some actual content.
It's all best shown with pictures - which were beautifully collected and displayed on LifeHacker... a bunch of iGoogle screen shots ("show us your iGoogle"), including a very compelling Finance-oriented personalized page... something that really strengthens my belief that this gadget model will take over the corporate market. The simplicity of delivering consumable snippets of applications in windows which can be directly interactive and then expanded when needed is smart and usable and, for me, perfect. It's not just a google thing - Yahoo had some great portaly-gadgety stuff early on, and now pretty much everyone does - but I can sing the praises of iGoogle freely, as it's not my product :) and I really do love it.