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Top Five Video Widgets to Fidget With

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Widget makers from across the web have gathered in San Francisco for Widget Summit 2007. In honor of all those wonderful bite-sized bits of code that are transforming our industry, here are five of my favorite video widgets you should definitely play with.

All of these widgets are easy to get up and running. Some are useful for gathering or creating video, others are just plain fun — but the best combine elements of both.

We’ve talked before about WeShow being a place to find good video, but its widget delivers the goods directly to your blog or web page. Select the types of videos you want to appear (e.g. comedy, music, sports) and content is hand-picked, not automatically generated, by WeShow staff from sites like YouTube,, Brightcove, Metacafe and others. You can alter the size and skin color of your widget, and it has a nice animated scroll-through for users to preview what’s available.

Diggest pulls the top videos from Digg and plays them in a continuously running channel. You can turn the scrolling comments on or off, change the skin color or skip ahead. Definitely a must-have for the big Digg addicts.

For more widgets please visit

I really wanted to include the Blinxit video widget in this roundup. It scans the text on your page and then searches for relevant video. But I couldn’t get it to work (even when I tried the troubleshooting tips on the site).

But it was all for the best, because instead I got to include the Blinkx Video Wall. This widget sort of makes you feel like a security guard at the mall, except that you choose what content the monitors are filled with. Type in some keywords, select the size you want the widget to be, and voila! Blinkx goes out and finds video relevant to your search and tiles the results. Here’s what came up when I told it to search for “NewTeeVee.” Mouse over for specifics on each video.Aniboom’s Micro-Smotion uses your webcam to capture still images and create animated gifs. Just click on the icon when you want to capture an image, and the widget exports it to a ready-for-posting format. You’re the man now, dog.

Click here to get your own Microsmotion

Animated gifs can get annoying if you’re trying to read, so I attempted to make one that was as unobtrusive as possible:

The last video widget comes from Blipback, but rather than write about it, click “play” in the window below to see what it does.

Some honorable mentions: Fix8‘s animation avatar turns your image on a webcam into real-time 3D animation that mimics your every expression. But it’s for Windows only, so I couldn’t test it out (congrats to Fix8 for landing $3 million in funding).

And speaking of inserting yourself into the action, technically this isn’t a widget, but it’s so cool it’s worth talking about. Upload a photo of yourself through JibJab’s Starring You feature to become a character in their new partisan political spoof Night of the Living Republicans/Democrats.

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