We all saw how that turned out.
Fast forward to 2006 – the Web is back in a whole new way. And a new mechanism is surfacing with the same game changing ramifications as the web page. Ironically, this mechanism is enabled by the very same technologies whose value was once called into question by corporate America. This new medium is the Web Widget.
Want your blog readers to know about the stocks you are watching? Grab a Yahoo Finance Badge. Want to put a music player on your MySpace? Grab a Streampad Playlist Widget. Want your friends to check out a hot new video you saw? Grab a YouTube Player Widget. Widgets are the web ala carte. More importantly, users are leveraging Widgets to build increasingly customized experiences on StartPages, Social Networks, Blogs and other emerging online content aggregation platforms. And, as it happens, content aggregation platforms are meeting this burgeoning demand by enabling the use of Widgets. Typepad has opened up their sidebar to Widget Developers. Blogger is Beta testing page layouts with âElements.â? Tagworld has introduced a Widget gallery. The list goes on and onâ¦
Although there are a number of terms used to describe Web Widgets (Modules, Gadgets, Badges, Elements, Capsules, Snippetsâ¦), one thing is certain – these seemingly innocuous little modules are popping up all across the World-Wide-Web. For now, the use of Widgets has been limited to the techno-elite. However that is all about to change. The same corporations that were unsure of the value of the original web, are rushing to embrace this new medium. Marketers are encouraging them to capitalize on the new channel, recognizing the foundational role that Widgets will play in the emerging Web as a Platform. Just as web services enable developers to mix and match digital content and services to deliver new applications, Widgets will enable non-technical users to mix and match pieces of the web to create custom experiences for themselves and others.
In the next installment, we will discuss some of the emerging problem areas surrounding the Widgets. Although Widgets seem simple, nothing could be further from the truth. Stay tuned, fellow web-slingers.