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Summary:

Newsweek has already declared 2007 year of the widget, and lots of little companies are hard at work, trying to make it all real. Israeli startup Musestorm, is launching a platform later this week that will allow you to widgetize any RSS feed, and create web […]

Newsweek has already declared 2007 year of the widget, and lots of little companies are hard at work, trying to make it all real. Israeli startup Musestorm, is launching a platform later this week that will allow you to widgetize any RSS feed, and create web and desktop widgets for Yahoo and Google amongst other platforms. It promises mobile and IM are on the way.

Musestorm has tied up deals with other widgeteers to allow for easily adding Musestorm widgets to PageFlakes, Snipperoo, and Weebly. Like Widgetbox, the company also provides detailed analytics.

Other widgety action:

  • WengoVisio, makes a one-click video and audio call widget for blogs. We’re sorry, dear readers, but we don’t love you that much. (See TechCrunch review.)
  • Apple opens access to its Dashcode Developer Beta. Claims “With Dashcode you will have your widget running in minutes, even if you’ve never written a line of code.” And it will be “elegant and engaging.”
  • YourMinis adds the capability to publish widgets to MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster, reports Mashable.
  1. As I’ve commented elsewhere, there is no question about the rise of widgets. What will be interesting to watch in 2007 is the business models that emerge for widgets. I comment on this in more detail at the Lightspeed blog (we’re an investor in Rockyou, one of the largest widget distributors on the web) – if you’re interested click on my name in this comment.

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  2. Jeremy, I think that’s the rub. I’ve seen a couple of troubling signs – for example, the site that I work for has been unable to get permission from Google to include AdSense in our user’s widgets, because the lack of control Google would have on where their ads would show up. MySpace, not surprisingly, has a habit of blocking anybody who tries to monetize widgets on their property. We haven’t seen any of the big distributed shopping services break out yet, either.

    The most innovative thing that I’ve seen in terms of monetizing widgets has been the widget itself as an ad format (using Bitty Browser), as reported by Steve Rubel here:

    http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/12/informationweek.html

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  3. Liz,

    Thanks for the mention. Our vision for yourminis is as a platform of widgets that offers you a variety of usage options including as a personalized start page, as public pages you can share(see some of our published pages at http://dir.yourminis.com), as individual embedded widgets (we just released this functionality – you can go to yourminis select any widget, customize it and then get the embed code to add to your personal site, blog, etc.), as a browser plug in (travels with you anywhere you go on the internet and gives you added 1-click options for the content on the page you are currently viewing), as a desktop client in the near future, and on wireless flash lite enabled devices (coming soon).

    2007 will be an interesting year for the widget space.

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  4. I am significantly underwhelmed by the idea of widgets. To me, they are more of an annoyance than a convenience. They simply add useless noise to a site or blog.

    That being said, they are a good marketing tool.

    I experimented with a widget on a site I ran a year ago that would allow the user who places the widget on their blog to embed their own adsense code into the widget. So, what they got was my widget marketing my content and something that disguises their ugly adsense. People seemed to like it.

    However, companies that make and distribute widgets as their only service have no business raising millions upon millions of dollars. The VC’s that give away this money are doing a great disservice to their investors. What in the world is that money being spent on?

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  5. Whatever. GigaOm must need something to talk about so they proclaim a Widget Storm is coming. Yeah, whatever.

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  6. We’re focused on widgets at Seeking Alpha, because as the largest and fastest growing financial site by article volume we have RSS feeds for every stock ticker, sector and theme (such as iPhone), so RSS-based widgets are a no-brainer. We partnered with Musestorm and they’re providing widgets for 14 of our themes and sectors, and we even promote the Musestorm widgets at the bottom of our Housing Bubble Tracker ( http://usmarket.seekingalpha.com/article/24213 ). The analytics are helpful too; we check to see which sites are using our widgets.

    However, we’ve found that Musestorm widgets don’t seem to appear correctly on Blogger blogs.

    We’ve noticed that our headlines are increasingly appearing via widgets from Feedsweep, which should have been in your list, Om. Look at the way Mad Money Options has fully customized Feedsweep widgets for his website, for example:

    http://www.madmoneyoptions.com/

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  7. James Governor’s Monkchips » Guess which enterpris…

    I’ve been on a widget kick of late and it started with this blog that James links too, in fact I’ve done two widgets so far one is just something and the other is quite a bit more sophisticated.

    The one, the white one in the screen shot is a count…

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  8. Liz, Om, Thanks for the post!

    Indeed, a widget storm is coming… We hope to not only be the FIRST widget syndications service, but to be the best.

    The service was in closed beta for the last few months, SeekingAlpha being one of the best partners we worked with.
    As David pointed out, our AJAX-based widgets did now show correctly in some environments, mainly because of CSS collisions.
    Our new widgets are pure Flash, and render well anywhere.

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  9. Good job Ori and the MuseStorm team on your launch and welcome to the widgetsphere! We’re big fans of your service and look forward to our continued partnership.

    In all fairness, Widgetbox publicly launched it’s widget syndication platform in September of last year, and although a lot of attention has been focused on our successful widget marketplace, many widget developers are making use of our infrastructure services to syndicate web content and to track and analyze it’s usage.

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  10. I agree that widgets are the future. I also think they will ultimately prove the means by which normal blogs supersede the walled gardens of MySpace and Facebook:
    http://wanderingstan.com/2007-01-11/thenextmyspaceisalready_here

    My company, Lijit, creates a Personal Vertical Search widget that turns any blog into a vertical search centered on the blogger’s content (across delicious, digg, Flikr, linkedIn, etc..) and the blogger’s social network (and all their content).

    http://www.lijit.com/

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