Google has quietly begun testing a customized "portal" page that would give its site a look similar to that of rivals Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN.
hose who opt for the new look would be able to create more options on their initial home page or search page, instead of using the sparse Google home page with a search box.
Google began the offering this week for customers through labs.google.com.
The move brings Google closer to competing more directly with Yahoo, MSN and other Web portal sites, which allow users to search but also browse content such as news or weather from the initial page.
Google users would be allowed to customize their home page by choosing from various options, including news from the BBC or New York Times, local weather and cinema features.
It is similar to Yahoo's "My Yahoo," "My MSN" from Microsoft, and other rival offerings.
Google has repeatedly sought to remain strictly a search engine, but the move may offer users a wider choice of options and open further advertising potential, analysts say.