by: Lynette Webb 

I love this quote… not only does it so perfectly capture what they do, it also has the lovely juxtaposition of the term “widget” (which makes me think of very unsexy sprockets & spanners) and “bling”! It’s from a May 2007 Business Week article.

Here are some other interesting things about widgets.

The biggest widgets have huge penetration, more than most people realise. According to Comscore’s recent report “In April 2007, Slide was the top widget provider with a worldwide reach of more than 117 million unique viewers, or 13.8 percent of the total worldwide Internet audience”

Widgets are at the heart of the battle between Facebook and Myspace. Desperate not to allow anyone a free ride, Myspace announced a crackdown on widgets, and soon after Facebook welcomed them with open arms. Talk about a way to give an R&D boost to your competition. As Redeye VC said: “Rather than recognizing the symbiotic nature of their relationship with widget companies, Myspace’s lack of a clear “widget roadmap” created a big opportunity for their #1 competitor, Facebook. ... Facebook has recognized (and embraced) something that Myspace has not – that there is more value in owning a web platform then a web property.”

Widgets are paradoxically both a driver of fragmentation and a tool for aggregation of personal content stored online. Fragmentation - because if you visit a friend’s site, see a widget you like, before you know it you’ve ended up creating/uploading ‘content’ at yet another website in order to get the same widget for your own. Aggregation - because widgets let you embed content from different places into a single webpage, and thus can help stitch together previously farflung things.

Photo via FlickrCC thanks to fweez

Leave a Comment