A colleague of mine shared this interesting article on the subject of “widgets.” It’s worth a read.
What are widgets?
In a sense, Widgets are Web 2.0 versions of the small software applications and shareware that we saw in the 90’s, only they are web based and they are much more useful. If you are an art enthusiast you could download a widget offered by one of our clients, for example, that shows you new masterpieces by famous artists every day.
There are widgets for everything. Frequent traveler? Get a widget that tracks fares for you in real-time. Looking to find local activity partners? Yep – a widget for that. If you’re a fan of celebrity gossip you can find a widget for that as well. Widgets are being created by everyone under the sun in order to address the very specific needs of niche audiences. Browse some for yourself here at Yahoo!.
What’s going on?
You may have heard FaceBook in the press recently. User activity and sign-ups have been going through the roof… primarily the result of one major event: FaceBook developed a platform that allows third-party developers to create widgets and share them with the FaceBook community. Google and Yahoo! both offer platforms for widgets, but what’s particularly interesting about FaceBook’s platform is that a good widget on FaceBook will quickly spread virally because of its tight integration with each user’s profile page and network of friends.
Why should you care?
Short answer: It’s a way to get more traffic, more visibility, and more links.
In the web world everyone talks about viral marketing. Want to get more traffic? Do viral marketing. Want to enhance SEO rankings? Do viral marketing. What’s unique about widgets specifically, and the platforms that are being developed to support them in particular (FaceBook, Yahoo!, Google) is that marketers will now have an easier time getting their cool new viral gimmicks into the hands of their customers.
Let the land-grab begin!