The redesign of iGoogle - the Google search engine's personalised, customisable version - has prompted a flood of complaints from users.

Since the new-look site was launched on Thursday last week, Google has seen more than 800 discussions regarding iGoogle's appearance on its forums. Users appear to be upset that their personal portal page to the web has been altered in ways they don't like and without any prior warning.

In iGoogle, as in similar 'home page' services from competitors, Google users can aggregate information, 'gadget' web applications and syndicated feeds, so that it serves as a sort of central hub of their online activities.

Personalised home-page services such as iGoogle are increasingly important for Google and its web portal rivals - including Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft's MSN - as they fight it out for the attention of consumers online by consolidating their chosen services on a single page.

The stakes in this space have been raised by the booming popularity in recent years of social-networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, which have become the central starting points of tens of millions of people's internet activities.

The main changes to iGoogle include the ability to increase a gadget application to a full screen, something Google calls 'canvas view', and a new left-hand navigation bar.

So far, at least one online petition has been started, requesting that iGoogle users get the option to revert their portal pages to the old design, which they preferred.

A common complaint seems directed at the new left-hand navigation column, which many gripe takes up valuable screen space and adds little value to their user experience.

In addition, people are complaining about the Gmail 'gadget' application in iGoogle. Google has acknowledged that there is a problem with this Gmail gadget, which has made links in email messages inactive. Some users are also objecting to previews of Gmail messages showing up by default via the Gmail gadget because they use iGoogle at work and don't want this information to be viewed by others. Google says it is working to rectify these problems.

Next page: Google backs down over feature removal