Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Widgets and Postapp Widgetbox

Here's a bold (not) prediction. The day of the widget is here... Hide the children. Lazy college economics professors will no longer be able to talk about 'widgets' and their marginal cost without a knowing chuckle from the back of the class. Widgets (whether AJAX or Flash-based) are fast becoming mainstream. Now sometimes I hear complaints that my perspective represents the TechCrunch 53K (number of TechCrunch readers) more than the mass market. But the more I read about the rising adoption of services like Netvibes and ( is a juggernaut btw), it looks like millions of mass market users are in agreement about widgets as well. Check out the traffic patterns of some popular webtops below (and then compare it to -- yow. Mr Softie is doing something right here.)

Widgets are also hugely popular within social networks (with services like RockYou, Youtube and Slide). Check out almost any MySpace page and you'll see image and video widgets in prominent spots. Web services from and Digg are also popular these days. As the number of webtops, social networks and their respective users increase, the increasing complexity of managing these different platforms for placement of widgets becomes strikingly apparent. Everyone from MySpace to AOL to Netvibes to Microsoft Live (and on and on) will have different requirements, policies and means for enabling 3rd party widgets.

Obviously, there is a significant opportunity here to build an integrated platform to enable widgets for wide distribution regardless of end-user platform, and it seems that PostApp/Widgetbox is leading that charge. While they are still in private beta, they have had a lot of interest from the developer community in their offering (who apparently also agree that widgets will be big). They remind me a ton of Appforge that's built a killer business enabling developers to build wireless applications across hundreds of handsets without having to deal with conforming their app to accomodate each and every handset's distinct software requirements. This is exciting stuff folks -- the personal web only promises to get bigger with the increasing value of an integrated web experience via webtops/social networks (see post below). Companies like PostApp are helping accelerate this movement even further.


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