Widgets are small applications that can be installed on blogs, embedded in your operating system and probably printed out and stuck on your forehead (if you are fanatical). Examples of widgets include Dashboard widgets on a Mac and Windows Vista’s Gadgets. Below is what my Dashboard widgets look like at the moment:
You can also find widgets in blog sidebars (for example, you will notice that there are Muti and Digg feed widgets in our sidebar which import new content from Muti and Digg, respectively, as the content becomes available). These widgets are starting to have an impact on how content is delivered on the Web. Feeds have already had an impact on people’s consumption habits because you can subscribe to a feed and never visit the site again. Widgets take it a step further because you can now insert a widget sourcing content from one site on your site and visitors to your site can access that original content through your site. A web site starts to become a distributed content flow and the emphasis shifts to reach rather than how many pageviews your site has in any given period. This, of course, impacts on pageview dependent services like advertising.
I came across a site called Widgetbox which makes it pretty easy for people to create widgets of their own.
Widgetbox is a directory and syndication platform for web widgets for blogs and other web pages. Our widgets work with TypePad, WordPress, Blogger, MySpace as well as most other blogs, sidebars or websites. No plug-ins are needed, and they’re free!
The Muti widget we have in our sidebar is a great example of this. It was put together by Rafiq for Muti (great job Rafiq) and is a convenient way to add Muti content to your site. I thought I’d give it a try and came up with this widget for chilibean content that you can insert into your site. You can customise the style of and content in the widget (headlines only or both headlines and a summary) and you can insert it into pretty much any space on any site as far as I can tell.
I’d love to hear what your experiences have been with these widgets. Do you use them, create them or just experiment with them? If you haven’t seen these widgets before, give them a try and let us know what you think.