The Widgetization of the Web

Widgets are taking over the web, small pieces at a time. Big web destinations are opening their templates to custom configurations by users and pre-configurations with special partners. Mix and match your favorite content from around the web on your personal start page from Microsoft, Google, or Netvibes. Share a few live and always updating bits of information in your blog sidebar using widgets on WordPress or TypePad.

Small(er) businesses can leverage the huge distributions of users across most of the top web properties. Over half of the top Internet companies for home users currently open up their pages for easy setup of your content.

Parent Co.Unique
Time Warner53,19646.0901:20:08
News Corp. Online24,59021.3100:43:56
RealNetworks, Inc.12,74011.0400:27:28
Apple Computer12,00310.4000:31:13

Data from Nielsen//NetRaings, week of July 5.

Each of the companies highlighted in yellow has an potential audience waiting for content and information from your webapp. What fresh content and information would you like to present to your users and their readers anywhere at any time?

Widgets are simply composed of HTML with optional CSS for styling and JavaScript for rich interaction. A few sites require an XML to tie all your files together as well.

PostApp widget syndication

Image by PostApp

Widgets can include the latest inbound links to your blog as tracked by Technorati, your current availability on an IM network, or the top stories on Digg. Some widgets can be extended to your desktop using software from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Apple, and others.

New ecosystems are springing up around widget-enabled sites. Companies such YouTube and Slide receive the majority of their traffic from embedded content on MySpace. Google has created an IDE for their gadgets. Startup company PostApp is creating an entire business around widget syndication. It’s only just the beginning of widget services across the web.

Om Malik and I discuss in more detail the current state of the widget web in this week’s PodSession named Widgetization of the Web. The podcast is 23 minutes in length, a 10 MB download.


Commentary on "The Widgetization of the Web":

  1. Kingsley Joseph on wrote:

    Niall, I’d like to hear your take on widgetization of secure data. Any best practices/ analysis of present models etc would be super.

  2. Ivan Pope on wrote:

    Snipperoo also has a business model that entirely revolves around widgetising the world. We are about to roll out the ‘Universal Widget’. We’re interested in the widgets people put in their public sites rather than in their closed pages.

  3. Fergus Burns on wrote:

    Hi Niall

    Great to meet at Gnomedex

    enjoyed the podcast – we did a bit on widgets a while back – an exciting area – as long as its very “simple” to implement

    Talk Soon

  4. John Panzer on wrote:

    Why is Time Warner (and AOL) not highlighted above? I think we’re both providing a lot of content via APIs and widgets and providing a highly capable though still-in-beta AIMPages UI to tie things together. I’d seriously like to know what you think is missing.