If there was one central prediction for 2007 that everybody seemed to agree on, it was that 2007 would be the year of the widget/gadget. MSM like Newsweek, or bloggers like Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb all believe in that evolution and I can only agree. But a universal widget/gadget is probably what’s needed to reach the tipping point for the widgetized web.
So this evolution was bound to happen. With all these different widgets & gadgets for Yahoo!, Google, Mac, Vista, Netvibes, Live.com, Windows Live Spaces … the choice is immense but hardly ideal. The platforms, the developers, the end-users, .. nobody really wins. The idea of a widget is to allow you to bring little parts of the www to your central dashboard, not to build a new type of walled garden.
Given the fact that Live.com & Vista are both from Microsoft, it’s only logic that you can develop gadgets that you write once for both platforms. But end-users also created their own ways already to transform Google widgets into Vista gadgets for instance, using The Amnesty Generator. Pretty cool if you ask me, and good proof that consumers want to be able to drop any widget/gadget on their preferred dashboard or personalize page. And this is only the beginning, as W3C is working on a draft widget specification as well.
The most exciting news is coming from Netvibes though, in an announcement they made at the Future of Web Apps in London two weeks ago, reported by Techcrunch:
“Today at the Future of Web Apps conference in London, Netvibes founder Tariq Krim announced that their upcoming “Coriander” release will do just that. The new product will be called the Universal Widget API and will be available at http://eco.netvibes.com/uwa (this site is live now with a landing page, more information will be available next week). Once launched, any widget created for Netvibes, Krim says, will work on the Vista, Google, Mac and Opera platforms as well. Support for Yahoo Widgets and other platforms will follow soon after.”
I hope this will be the real start of a real universal widget, as a truly open platform. Now that would be really cool.