Google Gadgets: more widgets for Web sites

Google Gadgets: more widgets for Web sites

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman

We're entering an era of widgets. People have taken to building Web pages by piecing together chunks of functional code that come from all over. If you're interested in adding widgets to your pages, though, there are at the moment only a few good directors to grab them from. One of them is Widgetbox, which I've covered previously. And now there's Google, which has made it possible for widgets written for its own Google Desktop app to be installed in your own Web pages. Here's the current directory. See the news story.

Mashable points out that Google's widgets use JavaScript, which is blocked on many social network sites (such as MySpace). However, people who run their own blogs or sites should not have a problem using the widgets. MySpace and other social network users should check out the SpringBox, MySpace's own entry into the widget space. Its widgets can be embedded almost anywhere.

I imagine it's just a matter of time until Yahoo figures out how to make its excellent Yahoo Widgets gizmos insertable into Web pages.

Be prepared for a lot of cluttered, widget-drunk Web pages. On the other hand, there are very good and reasonable uses for widgets on business sites: maps with traffic information, shipping cost calculators, store cams, live chat windows, and so on. Widgets can make Web pages both more useful and more cluttered. We're going to see both.

By way of show-and-tell, this is the Google moon phase widget: