How Functional Widgets Are Shaking Up the Web

Call them widgets, gadgets, modules or even blog bling. But no matter how you classify the tiny chunks of code showing up as embedded portable boxes across the web and on desktops, they’re set to change the way content is delivered and consumed.

Widgets and gadgets have been around in various forms for years — YouTube video boxes on web pages are likely the most popular to date — but it’s the Web 2.0 versions with self-contained interactive and robust functionality that are pushing widgets beyond simple information, decorative or novelty use. Top tech-industry pundits, such as Engadget’s Peter Rojas and GigaOm’s Om Malik believe widgets and gadgets are the next big thing on the web, and Newsweek went so far to assert that 2007 will be the year of the widget.

Yahoo, another longtime widget distributor through its 2005 purchase of widget pioneer Konfabultor, will unveil the next version of its Yahoo Widgets 4.0 on March 22. Google added Google Gadgets to its Desktop last year, and said this month that more than 4,000 gadgets have been created to date.

‘Sexier’ widgets”Widgets can now offer full-featured functionality in the body of the widget,” said Lawrence Coburn, a widget consultant and author of widget-review blog “Sexy Widget” (his day job is CEO of “Through these satellite widgets, we will start to see distributed companies that don’t exist as a destination.”

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