Home Fox Interactive Gets Into Widgets Game

Fox Interactive Gets Into Widgets Game

I’m here
at Widgets Live in San Francisco, where Dan Strauss and Don Synstelien
from Fox Interactive Media are onstage talking about their new widget platform called SpringWidgets. The defining feature of this
product is that it works on both the desktop (like Konfabulator) and in the
browser (like Google widgets). However the desktop part is Windows only for now – Mac
support is coming.

Their showcase widget currently is the RSS Reader widget – it displays
rss feeds, video and podcasts. If you have a Feedburner feed, you can customize your widget,
which came about as a result of a partnership between FIM and Feedburner. SpringWidgets
has a developer platform too, so
the platform is flexible for publishers and developers alike.

The other defining feature is that SpringWidgets can be easily shared – users can
click a small green icon (the widgets equivalent to the orange ‘subscribe’ button) and
put the widget either on their website/blog, social network (e.g. MySpace), their
desktop, or all of the above.

Mike Arrington noted
, Microsoft is probably SpringWidgets’ biggest competitor – as
they will have widgets built into Vista. But also watch out for both Yahoo and Google, as
these days all of the big players need widgets to be usable across desktop-Web. As we
have explored at
length recently on Read/WriteWeb, desktop/browser integration is increasingly important
in the Web world. Indeed Google already offers
two types of gadgets: desktop plug-ins
for the Google Desktop and Personalized
Homepage gadgets
for the Web. Yahoo of course has a strong desktop widgets platform (previously known as

As for SpringWidgets, being a FIM property means that MySpace integration will be key
to their rollout success. But it’s interesting to see SpringWidgets casting a much wider
net than just the MySpace platform – other web platforms plus desktop too. It means
they’re taking on the big Internet companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. More proof
that widgets are an increasingly important trend – certainly the hot thing amongst the
early adopter geeks right now, as podcasting was last year at this time and RSS the year

Update:StickiWidgets points out that SpringWidgets is potentially a great platform for distributing Fox’s own media content.

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