The Wonder of Widgets

August 30, 2008 at 11:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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After reading the title of this entry, some of you may be nodding and thinking of your favorite widget or even trying to decide which one you might be able to live without. Others of you are saying, “You’ve mentioned widgets before. Aren’t you ever going to tell me what they are?” To the second group, smile! Today is your day! (But first group, hang with me – some widget news awaits below!)


Have you ever been at your computer, typing an email about your weekend plans, and suddenly wondered whether rain is in the forecast? Rather than going to the television and waiting for the Local on the 8s to roll around, or even visiting a weather website and typing in a zip code, you could just check your weather widget. If you absolutely must not be outbid for the last item for your antique lunchbox collection, download the free eBay Addict widget. Want to keep up with NHL standings? Just download the widget. Or maybe you’re an asteroids junkie but you don’t want to actually install the game on your computer. Asteroids widget to the rescue!


Widgets are small digital gadgets that can “live” on your desktop and provide specific info from a single Web site or a variety of sites. They can be great time-savers (or great time-consumers, if you like games). They are available for Mac, PC, social networking sites like Facebook, and even devices such as the iPhone. Soon – perk up your ears, first group – they may even be saying, “Look, Ma, I’m on TV!” Yes, Yahoo and Intel are partnering to introduce the Widget Channel so that you can add auto-updating items of personal interest to your television viewing experience. Maybe you’ll be able to watch a Seinfeld rerun while keeping an eye on your Berkshire Hathaway stock in a Wall Street widget in a corner of the screen. (But hey, if you’ve got much BH stock, you could possibly hire the cast to reenact an episode for you!) Think you recognize an actor in that new crime series? Maybe you’ll be able to use an on-screen widget to find out who it is. It gives a whole new meaning to multimedia, doesn’t it?


The benefits go to both sides of the communication medium. The receiver of the widget gets to choose the exact information to be delivered in a convenient and current fashion, without the need to daily visit a Web site. The provider of the widget gets the brand (company, team, charity, product, service, etc.) in front of the audience on a regular basis, as well as feedback in terms of the number of times its widget is downloaded.


So, who out there uses widgets? What are your favorites? And if you don’t use them, is there anything that could interest you in trying them?


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