Facebook Widget Acquisitions; Google Funding Widgets Through Venture Program

Couple of interesting macro developments in the micro-industry: A few Facebook-resident widgets (or gadgets, if you so insist) have been bought out by relatively bigger companies. For instance: a Facebook-only application Favorite Peeps was acquired by slideshow creator Slide; and Extended Info app was acquired by travel startup SideStep. So in essence, a small Facebook economy is emerging, a bit like the big MySpace economy (which resulted in one, Photobucket, being bought for $300 million by MySpace). This post on RWW looks at whether this Facebook economy is sustainable: “With more than 38,000 developers already using the Facebook Developer app…buying popular apps is a good way for companies looking to get into the Facebook ecosystem to screen developers.”

Then, in a similar vein, though Google-style, Google has started a “Google Gadget Ventures” program, where it will fund third-party widget/gadget developers who develop apps for its iGoogle personalized homepage service. “$5,000 grants for gadget developers who want to invest time making their already successful gadget even better, and $100,000 seed investments for new gadget-related businesses.” More details in the Google blog post here, and funding FAQs are here.