What’s a Widget?

There are so many interpretations of what a widget is, it’s often difficult to explain the concept. Konfabulator (acquired by Yahoo who has a fabulous widget site) was arguably the first widget engine and this company was in the business of making them for Apple’s Mac OS X. Then Apple allegedly hijacked the concept and shoved it into OS X in the form of Dashboard — extending the concept and giving it more traction in the marketplace. Opera has widgets. Typepad has widgets. There are widgets for WordPress. The cool Wigipedia for widgets is representative of the kinds of directories in place to locate widgets. Phew!

The kicker is that there are operating system-centric widgets and browser-centric widgets (e.g., blog; MySpace; or web page-centric) but the two have discrete methods of displaying their content which causes alot of confusion.

Widgets share one attribute: they’re tiny “windows” into the functionality of some, internet-hosted application or service allowing it to be easily and seamlessly accessed with these small, ahh, widgets. I predict that the promise of web services is being realized by these little chunks of functionality and the momentum for hosted internet-centric applications and services to deliver their core with API’s.

We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg with widgets.

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1 Comment

  1. Christian Lausten on October 8, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Oh, and check out Nokia’s latest invention: http://www.widsets.com. It’s a hybrid between Netvibes and Apple’s widgets. I’ve played around with it for a couple of days, and it’s the first time I’ve taken the much-talked-about mobile internet serious.



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