Earlier this week I noted that widget services are really ramping up now. Indeed over the past couple of days I've noticed lots of action in the burgeoning widgets industry, plus some excellent commentary.
At the Connected Innovators program at Supernova last night PostApp revealed the high level of WidgetBox, its "web widget marketplace". It's basically a marketplace for developing and managing widgets (i.e. small web-based apps). It aims to bring together the programmatic and participative Webs, in the words of CEO Ed Anuff. In other words, it's a marketplace between developers and regular Web users - where WidgetBox sits in the middle. TechCrunch has a review, plus profiles another company called GoodStorm which is doing e-commerce within widgets.
There are other services popping up to manage widgets too, e.g. Snipperoo which I mentioned in my prior post. The possibilities of widgets seems endless right now. Susan Mernit mentioned another angle on this, that the intersection of widgets with structured data is an area ripe with opportunity:
"Widgets could be flavor of the moment, but the ways that some widgets intersect with structured data (as opposed to intersecting with flashy, AJAX DHTML fancy effects) is one of the things I find compelling (Yes, I am fascinated by microformats, in particular)."
Susan says this opens up the ability to embed mini-apps in hugely popular platforms like MySpace. Over time I expect the big media companies will enable this kind of functionality in their platforms too - e.g. BBC, Yahoo (who already have all pieces of the puzzle, with its Konfabulator product and media platforms). For a taste of what Yahoo can do on a large scale, check out the NewsGator Podcasts & Buzz app - which searches RSS feeds to find video and audio podcasts, plus buzzworthy stories, and allows you to view that within Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. That kind of mini-app within an app is where all this is headed, from a product perspective. The bigger picture is that it opens up more opportunities for developers to leverage others platforms, and users to get more and varied sources of content.