Widgets are dead, long live widgets

The life cycle of a widget is shorter than you think. Now it's all about applications, not just functions.

Widgets, portable pieces of Web code, have become synonymous with interactive Web page components, often Flash-based games and ads can stick out like a sore thumb. Functions are great, but they need to be seamless.

Instead of just offering a page function, the widget technology is turning out native applications that blend seamlessly with newsfeeds and spread virally through friend lists. Accordingly, the w-word had to go and this morning iWidgets became Transpond. Transpond, a word that actually doesn't mean anything, calls to mind words like "translate" and "respond," more positive connotations than the has-been widget.

Widgets have moved to the wrong side of the hype cycle while apps have their own catch phrase ("There's an app for that.") Meanwhile, the underlying trend that powers what Transpond founder Peter Yared calls the "the atomization of the Web" remains strong.

Transpond offers an easy-to-use platform for creating native applications for Facebook, MySpace, and iGoogle and it's been humming along since its launch (as iWidgets) last summer. The company has big-name customers including CBS, CNN, Lifetime Television, and Revision3, all of whom had turned to the platform to get their content onto social networks.

Content publishers, marketers, and businesses can no longer slap up a Web site and expect to have an audience. Content has to find its audience wherever they happen to be, whether it's hanging out on Facebook or fiddling with their iPhone. Be it via widget or app, delivering the right content in the right way (with a bonus for interactivity) is the only thing that really matters.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom.

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