If 2005 saw the rise of Ajax and mashups, then 2006 was the year in which Widgets started coming into their own. David Beisel summarised this nicely:
The real (and largely uncovered) story of 2006 is the emergence of online syndication widgets. I didnt see the importance of a few simple lines of portable HTML code affecting the online space so dramatically, and I suspect most others didnt either.
First, it should be said the rise of online video was fueled in part by widgets YouTube built a good portion of their own traffic through the syndication of their player throughout the net (and especially on MySpace). Many photosharing sites (like Photobucket and Filmloop) similarly based their viral expansion on syndication of their hosted content through widgets on MySpace and other social networks. The success of these services spurred Fox Interactive Media into launching TheSpringBox, a widget platform for MySpace users that also works on the desktop. Similarly, Google released Google Gadgets in May, and Yahoo released the long-awaited Universal binary of the Yahoo! Widget Engine version 3.1.4 that month as well. In my own daily consumption of information, blogs like Widgify and Flying Seeds became staple reading.
Of course, numerous startups got into the mix rising social networking star Bebo launched Bebo Widgets last week, Widgetbox/PostApp provides a directory of widgets, and most of the social shopping sites leverage them for user-expression. Widgets are now the building blocks of the emerging set of personalized start pages. The Chumby promises to expand the reach of our widgets from our computer screen and into the rest of our homes.
Monday: Mobile Web
TECH TALK The Best of 2006+T