According to Wikipedia, a web widget is a small piece of code that you add to a web page. You also have desktop widgets (for example, the ones that come with Windows Vista, Apple and Yahoo widgets).
Why should I care about widgets?
- They are helpful as they provide useful information. For example, I have a weather application right on my desktop so I easily know the weather for the week.
- Market to your prospects. Are you trying to demonstrate leadership in your industry? Building your brand? Trying to drive people to your website? Consider creating a widget that will include your logo, a link to your website and provides useful information (see point #1) that will demonstrate your knowledge on a particular subject. It can even be something fun like a game - anything that reflect well on your company and/or brand.
- Communicate to customers more efficiently. Imagine if you were able to alert your customers instantly with a widget (for example, new tickets go on sale or a software alert) or provide them with a widget to receive mission critical information to their mobile device (this is a mobile widget)? The possibilities are endless. With widgets you get around email. If your widget is deemed useful, people will download it and use it.
What do Widgets and the Next US President have to do With Each Other?This is an easy one - check out this widget from the Washington Post that I easily added to this post. This says it all. It provides an easy synopsis of the major presidential candidates and their positions. It demonstrates that the Washington Post knows its stuff and helps readers cut through the political rhetoric. It also provides a plug for Daylife - the company that built this widget.
The new craze is using widgets with social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace. For example, I downloaded a widget for the show The Office for Facebook that displays quotes from the show. Widgets demonstrate how companies are working together more to build on existing platforms and provide more useful applications.
Let me know if you have found other interesting widgets and if you find these useful.
PS - widgets can be a huge time drainer as well so watch out!
PPS - Larry Chase pointed me to Widgipedia: http://www.widgipedia.com. It's a widget search engine and directory . Get your widget on!