Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Beyond RSS - Widgets

I am a huge fan of consumer home pages - netvibes, google personalized homepage,, pageflakes, etc. The products currently have very similar functionality: the user can configure a set of Tabs with multiple feeds (each in a separate box) on a each tab. Users get to consolidate information from multiple sources on a single home page. Several of the media sites have started offering similar functionality on their My______ pages. I saw WSJ launch theirs today. My home page is on netvibes and I have approximately 50 feeds setup on 5 tabs.

These products started out as web-based RSS readers, which is how I have mine setup. However, the technology has been evolving at a very fast pace and all products now allow you to include widgets on the Tabs.

Suddenly, widgets are everywhere - mac os supports widgets, vista supports widgets, you can chose from a plethora of widgets to enhance your blog. There was even a conference in the valley called WidgetsLive. I love the pace at which technology evolves.

Yesterday, I spoke with the executive team at Clearspring - they help customers create and syndicate widgets. The best way to describe them is Feedburner for Widgets. Over the next 6 months my web home page will be a "bag of widgets". This is very exciting, especially for a media company, as the content owner gets to control the look and feel of the widget on the user's home page and also, get traffic information for the widget.

You might want to check out the news on the BBC Backstage widget competition held recently. Here is a link to the cool winning entry: BBC World News Widget.

It will soon be a widget widget world!

No comments: