Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Widgets and the changing nature of the Web

USAToday has a good article on how widgets are starting to catch-on: Widgets make a big splash on the Net. Where this is mostly a Facebook driven phenomena I'm beginning to hear many people start to mention iGoogle as well. This is only going to grow more with the developing interest in OpenSocial.

In May, iLike had 3 million registered users of its music website. After its widget became available on Facebook, it ballooned to more than 10 million users on Facebook, 15 million overall. And iLike is now growing to the tune of 3 million users per month.

It will soon become clear, if it hasn't already, that the days of the destination website are in steep decline. Between search, syndication feeds, and widgets fewer and fewer people are browsing. How long before we stop building websites at all? Anyone just putting up searchable, but non-browsable wads of content yet? It basically comes down to ROI. Does it still pay to spend lots of money on site design and navigation systems? What's the tipping point?

Americans, meanwhile, are fast catching on to the joys of the snazzy new mini-programs. Awareness and use of widgets among online users, which was less than 5% in early 2007, has zoomed to more than 39% and 26%, respectively, says JupiterResearch.

Those are impressive numbers. We're also seeing an explosion in the use of feeds being driven by Google Reader. Big changes are afoot. If you're in the content business you had better have a distributed strategy. If your focus is still on your homepage it's time for you to switch your emphasis right now. It's getting harder to ignore these numbers.

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