2007 Year of the Widget?

Posted on January 3, 2007

Business 2.0's The Next Net blog has an interesting post about the growing importance of widgets. There are many different kinds of widgets which are also known by other names like snippets, badges, embed code or blog add-ons. Sites like MyBlogLog, YouTube and Technorati all offer widgets that bloggers can place on their blogs. Next Net says in its article (no longer available) that the widgets that let you embed data are the most important kind of widgets.
The more important kind of widgets are those that let you take data from one Website and embed them into another. Sometimes these are called Web badges or snippets, but they let you remix the Web to your liking by adding, say, a customized search box to your blog, a YouTube video to your MySpace page, or create a whole page of widgets on NetVibes by pulling in your Gmail, favorite RSS feeds, and photos from around the Web. If you use TypePad, there is a whole gallery of widgets you can add to your blog, including your linkroll or a one-click video chatting button.
Next Net also says that some are already calling 2007 the year of the widget. The Web 2.0 companies with the best widgets may end up being the winners. There will also be a growing markety and possibly annoying aspect of widgets. There will be an attempt to mimic the early success with viral videos by creating viral widgets with ads or marketing widgets. Next Net writes: "widgets will come ad buttons and sponsored marketing messages gussied up as content." The marketers are going to have to be able to convince bloggers to place these marketing widgets on their blogs -- maybe this will turn into another potential revenue source for bloggers. Another marketing side of widgets could be widgets that gather information and demographics in order to resell it.

Web 2.0 Widget startups are a certainty for 2007. The companies that thrive on widgets will offer something that bloggers feel complements and improves their blog. Many widget startups will fail because there is only room for a limited number of widget companies. After all, there are only so many widgets one blog can hold.