My Widget Predictions For 2007

November 21, 2006

The Wall Street Journal (subscription only) has a story in today’s paper about the growing popularity of widgets and how Paramount, in particular, is using widgets to promote its new film, “Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank.

You know widgets are the next big thing when the Wall Street Journal starts writing about widgets. Expect more of the traditional media to cover widgets over the next several months. Case in point, Steve Rubel will appear on CNBC ON The Money today at 7 pm EST to talk about the rising use of widgets for marketing.

With all this talk about widgets, here are my predictions for 2007:

  • A national consumer magazine will feature widgets as their cover story
  • Widgets will fuel RSS as people start consuming feeds without even knowing it
  • Most people will have no idea that the cool stuff that appears on their web page or desktop is actually called a widget. A study will quantify this information and bloggers, pundits and the rest will go on and on about what this means for the Internet and humanity.
  • Widgets will take on text ads as a way for micro publishers to make money off their web sites
  • CPM rates for banner ads will drop to all time lows as widgets grow in popularity for advertisers
  • Widgets will raise issues about syndication and copyright protection
  • A widget aggregator, such as Widgetbox or snipperoo will be bought by a big media company like Yahoo! or Google
  • Widgets, coupled with the video sharing phenomena, will change how brands are positioned. More brands will start replacing traditional advertisements with humorous or informative media that people will post to their blogs and web sites through widget players
  • Widgets will change how we we publish to the web. Widgets will become a platform for personal expression as much as blogs or podcasts
  • Thankfully, we will not see a conference called “Widgetpalooza.”

Update: Widget office suites will emerge in 2007! Add it to the list. Yes, componetized web apps on an Intranet could be very handy.

People Want Stuff For Their Sites or Hey Baby What’s Your Widget?

November 6, 2006

Some quotes from Ivan Pope of Snipperoo, who just spoke at Widgets Live on the topic of widgets aggregators.

“We encourage a million widget world”

“Keep your hands off my widgets”

“Online ads and affiliate marketing will spawn widget marketing”

“You will put your blog in your stuff not your stuf in your blog.”

“Sites will be constructed entirely of widgets.”

And this from BamBam of the AOL team:

“Hey, baby, what’s your widget?”

No One Has Heard of Widgets

November 6, 2006

Loving Widgets Live, but I am beginning to wonder about the term: “widgets.” It’s catchy. I love how it sounds. But listening to Peter Pham, I see why his company, Photobucket, decided to drop the term widget in describing their slideshow product. They were looking for user feedback so they talked to people in Denver and other cities who use the Photobucket service. They talked to 80 people. None of them were familair with the widget term.

But I bet the word widgets is here to stay just like other terms that seem to be crafted in some far off galaxy in the lounge of some hipster space ship flying through the social media space. Podcast, blog, widgets all have a pop media sound. Widgets is the only term that has been around for some time. From Wikipedia:

The earliest known occurrence of the word “widget” is in Beggar on Horseback (1924), a comedy play written by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. The hero of this play is a struggling composer who must choose between creating music that stimulates his soul (but earns no money) or earning a living by accepting a soul-deadening job in a factory that makes “widgets”. The text of the play intentionally refrains from revealing what “widgets” are; clearly, they represent any purely mercantile commodity that has no artistic or spiritual value.

Hmmm….Widgets sure have changed. But it raises a question: “Do widgets have any artistic value?” I wonder. Widgets are technologies.  The best ones may be considered works of art. But more so, it’s the art that people create and place in the widgets that is artisitic.  And then I wonder if they are widgets at all and instead slideshows, or some new form of movie, which I am sure will have some new name soon, coming from the lounge of some spaceship flying near you in the space called social media.

The Vloggies and Widgets Live (Sold Out!)

November 2, 2006

I head to San Francisco on Saturday for the Vloggies. On Monday, I will spend the day over at Widgets Live., which organizer Niall Kennedy says is now sold out. Wow.

Vlogstars and widget wizards, I’m in media geek heaven.

Robert Scoble says the Vloggies are a hot ticket. I’d say it’s the vloggers who are the hot tickets. I am a big fan of the video bloggers. They’re almost like the rock stars of the geek crowd.

And Monday, it’s widgets, widgets, widgets.

Om Malik is putting Widgets Live together with Niall Kennedy. And they’ve done a great job of pulling together some of the brightest folks , people who are pioneering how we produce and publish, be it for the web, the desktop or even hardware devices. Some of the sessions that I look forward to checking out:

Niall posted a bit about who is attending Widgets Live. What interests attendees most?

51% of respondents were most interested in blogs and social networking, 17% in personalized homepages, and 15% in desktop widget opportunities.

What a few days coming up! Let me know if you are in San Francisco. Maybe we can get a group together for dinner on Monday night.


Universal Media Player for the Distributed Web

October 30, 2006

Pete Cashmore of Mashable is a visionary.

Last February Pete wrote about the idea of a Universal Media Player:

Flickr, YouTube, Stickam,, Revver and many more Web 2.0 players have successfully employed widgets to drive traffic back to their own sites. eBay and Amazon take the next step by incentivizing their widgets (you earn a % of any transaction). And finally there’s the widget to end all widgets: the indefatigable Google Adsense. Ultimately, I wonder whether we even need to drive traffic back to the originating site – it seems feasible to have all the interaction taking place within the widget itself (and in fact this already happens with Adsense). Nonetheless, you still need a centralized site where the user can create his widgets (or do you?).

The answer to your parenthetical question, Pete, is no.  In the post-destination-website era (a.k.a. “the distributed web”), your rich media content will be splashed across hundreds of different web pages, yet you will be able to remotely control and track it all from one simple console, accessible directly from any Universal Media Player, on any web page.

Sorry it took 10 months for your vision to become reality, Pete.

Wanna sneak peak?  Sign up for SplashCast beta.

Widgets or A Whole New World of Publishing?

October 27, 2006

Haydn Shaughnessy writes that the future of blogging is in the sidebar. He corrects himself in the comments, stating specifically that the blog will change quite a bit in the next year. That seems far more true.

Om Malik provides a bigger picture of what widgets mean. Widgets are on the web. They’re on the desktop. Apple has built widgets into their OS. Widgets, Malik wrote for Business 2.0 “are part of a movement that’s exploding the Web into millions of tiny chunks and reassembling it for a new generation of Internet users.”

I’d argue that what we are really seeing is a whole new world of publishing that channels across the web. RSS is the transport for these media pieces. It is the syndication format that is under the hood, providing what it does best, horsepower and fast delivery to people wherever they may be. Most people may not know about RSS. But that’s not important. They’ll get the feeds that they want.

For instance, I check out Kris Krug’s flickr stream because his photos are so rock star. His photos are the main show. But what if I want to post his photos on my web site? I can use a widget from Flickr to get his photos posted on my blog sidebar as he updates his photo page.

Over the next year we’ll see photo feeds like the ones from Kris not just appearing in sidebar flickr badges. They’ll be seamlessly embedded into the blog entries themselves, no different than traditional static images. They’ll also be part of shows that mix the media from Kris and other talented people into micro channels, syndicated all over the web. In other words, they won’t just be sidebar fun. They’ll act as the next evolution of micro-publishing, where millions of tiny chunks of media get distributed to places where they are not just a sidebar gadget but serve as the main show themselves or as integral media elements within a larger HTML context.