I started blogging here in February this year. This makes me the longest serving widget blogger. Not quite a year then, but what a year it's been for widgets. David Beisel goes so far as to say ' I think that the real (and largely uncovered) story of 2006 is the emergence of online syndication widgets.' I think he's wrong (that's next year), but it's been one helluva ride. Looking back over my blogging year, here's my review:
In the beginning I blogged a lot of specific widgets. I guess there wasn't that much more to blog. The first thing I blogged was the Blogrolling widget.
March brought the first big widget story of the year - TypePad implemented their house widget management system. I was a bit grudging (they don't work on Advanced templates), but I concluded that '...once applications see how widgets for TypePad go, they'll want then on everything else, won't they?' Widgets: TypepadHacks. Eurekester Swicki. Gabbly. Performancing. BlogCode. Slide. Yahoo Publisher Network. Google Buttons and Adsense.
Will the BBC roll out a widget strategy? (At this point I'm still calling them snippets - see how fast things moved on). Brightcove launch with half a widget strategy. FeedoStyle for RSS widgets. Meetup has '... one of the richest set of widget options I've yet come across'. I linked Pimp My Space, which led to more search traffic than any other item in the year. Google Calendar launched: my view 'It is possible to generate code snippets for embedding in your site - but it aint easy'. Already I'm widget obsessed. 30boxes calendar rolls out - I'm still using it every day, but not the widget, too hard to control what goes in it.
Rich Ziade at basement.org talks of the Bite Sized Web, 'I think we're going to start to see an interesting side effect on web pages and blogs as content and services become more granular. Content providers, the Yahoo!'s, AOL's, publishers, magazines etc., will start to provide their content, in a dynamic form, for placement on other web pages.' and Steve Rubel at MicroPursuasion coins the phrase 'Picture in Picture Marketing'. I see these as attempts to define widget marketing, something that is just starting to gain traction this early in the year. I said ' As marketers wake up to the potential of embedding something valuable in millions of idividual authentic sites, they will have to invent good reasons for that embedding. And they'll have to give something away, whether that is money or kudos or some other form of reward. We will see a collision of advertising and affiliate marketing and a completely new hybrid will emerge.' Jay takes delivery of our first server from serverbeach. Widgets: AllYouCanUpload from Webshots for instant badge making, and BloggerSnap where your visitors can take their own snap. Searchvortals search widget. FeedIcon universal RSS subscription button. Zookoda mailing list signups. Jotspot. Wholinked. Feedpass. Buddyping. Yahoo Finance badge. Rapleaf. IndieKarma. And Fred Wilson turns me on to MyBlogLog.
We announce the Widgetsphere. 'It's big and getting bigger'. Gnomedex and I'm in Seattle for a week of something. Susan Mernit posts on Welcome to the World of Widgety Goodness setting a meme loose on the world. Fergus Burns from Nooked blogs 'A new space is beginning to develop - widget marketing.' We launched our Widget Directory with a few good widgets. Now it has well over 2000 in there. Musestorm appear on the scene. Widgetoko launch a widget blog, tracking new widgets. They go from strength to weakness. We suggest that Ebay were going widget crazy with various API extensions: 'Ebay just announced a bunch of things that will no doubt turn up as widgets as soon as the developers get to grips with them'. Hugh Mcleod launches the gapingvoid widget. I note that 'The widgetsphere looks strangely european. Pageflakes out of Germany. Netvibes out of France. Snipperoo out of Britain. Widgetoko out of Holland.' Widgets: Goodstorm launch a revenue sharing ecommerce widget. Nabbr. Tunecast. Embed with YouTube. Miniclips (probably the second highest source of search traffic). Rojo launches Feedshare. Relatime. Rightcart.
Flash, and HTML badges & widgets are the flying seeds of the
internet'. Blogger Zenrob suggests that the search engines should build a widget search tool. Fred Wilson admits to a serious bling habit: 'It's true that I've got a ton of blog widgets on my sidebars. I am sorry
about that. But I can't help myself.' TagWorld launch a 'widget platform' that allows any widget they have in their system to be placed in any external site. Publishing 2.0 thinks 'MySpace users don’t want ... ads appearing on “their” pages uninvited.' Quite. Widgets: SkinnyR. Blaugh (bleagh). flickrinspector. The Hype Machine.
Om Malik reports the Skype widget 'Skype’s Click-to-call [widget] ... has become quite popular with bloggers in particular, who embed the Skype Me button on their website.' Evan Williams of Odeo calls for the abolition of pageviews because 'The web is becoming increasingly widgetized—little bits of functionality from one site are displayed on many others.'Web Widget makes its appearance in Wikipedia, but needs work. I add the MyBlogLog widget to the blog - it's one of the few that have lasted. (Well, Snipperoo is designed to make it easy to take them out as well as put them in). I start to analyse the Widgets of the Rich and Famous (must do more of this). Widgetbox rolls out their beta. Jay gets married. Rob La Gess, blogging at Stuffleufagus proposes a widget based social network - and then admits he tried and failed to start such a business. Cameron Olthius says: 'Widgets work! I’m not saying that you can build a widget for anything and expect it to work but a lot of people use widgets, and they if they provide value they work.' Rogelio Choy chimes in: 'Here's a bold (not) prediction. The day of the widget is here...'. Yeeha! Loads of widgety blogging - we've formed up a core of widget bloggers. Blogger rolls out their new version in beta, and it has house widgets. Suddenly it's easy to add code widgets to one of the biggest platforms. Rob Tsai reviews Widgetbox for us.
We roll out our Beta on the 27th. I spoke at an Beers and Innovation (my favourite subjects) and apparently "Ivan's vision for the web is not one that's monopolised by a Google or a Microsoft or a Myspace. 'These will pass' he says. The web is to be reclaimed as an open platform and he believes Snipperoo's model of really simple widgets will meet a growing demand for flexibility and individuality that is currently so restricted by the commercialised social networks." . Om Malik makes a seminal post: Suddenly everything's coming up widgets, 'Breaking down the Web into small, portable pieces is the smart trend that everyone from Nokia to Google is betting on.' Various people suggest a widget conference. Kevin Maney at USA Today gets phased: Tech industry spews doohickeys so fast we can't keep up . Robert Gaal puts Widgetoko up for sale. Oren Michels from the still-to-be Mashery writes in praise of widgets (I think):Widgets are Dead; Long Live Widgets. ThisNext's Gordon Gould wonders about 'exploding badges so that they no longer simply reflect/make actionable the current already-badged items? For example, how does a badge become an extension of the bookmarklet or shopping cart? Can the badge recruit new content creators, not just consumers? Can more dynamic badges go truly mainstream /cross the chasm?' Performancing asks Where is the Widget Wonga? (good question!). Rob Tsai at Zenrob does a great piece called Disaggregating the MySpace juggernaut one widget at a time in which he wonders whether it is possible to replicate a walled garden such as MySpace using existing widgets. Answer: not yet, but soon. Tim Post at Flying Seeds theorised the future of social badges. We sponsored the afterparty at d.construct, badly, it seems: 'Snipperoo's contribution: an attempt at the world record for the world's least generous free bar (the tab was closed in 10 minutes - beat that!)' We climb to 18 in the Museum of Modern Betas Most Anticipated.
Splashcast gets in quick with their Widget Predictions For 2007 : 'Thankfully, we will not see a conference called “Widgetpalooza.' I record a short demo of how to make and install a TypePad. PostBubble give us a qualified 'float': Snipperoo helps you easily add widgets to your website, if you can find the right one'. Tim Post is thoughtful about Endorsement Badges. VCMike riffs on A Million Little Pieces: 'You don’t want to hoard your great content within your site. You want a million little pieces of this content floating around the web and the blogosphere. And, if it is good stuff, you can bet that some random bloggers out there that you likely have never heard of is going to drive a ton of views of that content.' WidgetsLive! comes and gos in a flurry. Liz Gannes does a Wrap-Up from Widgets Live. 'Ivan Pope, Snipperoo (this guy was full of catchy quotes that seemed just a tiny bit beyond our grasp): “Widgets are the bumper stickers of the internet.” Fittingly, this came as a bumper sticker. And a t-shirt.' As I leave for WidgetsLive!, the Guardian newspaper covers Web 2.0 with an interview with Dick Costolo from FeedBurner:
Guardian: "What is the next big thing online?"
Dick Costolo: "I'm going to make up a word: the next big thing online will be the 'widgetisation' of media.
Aah, all's well with the world. Goodwill and Peace and Widgets to all mankind. 2007 will be the Year of the Widget. But 2006 was the year the widget came from nowhere to prominence. And we wont' see that again. Watch this space.