Today’s favorite toy

A few years ago, before we came into this broadband explosion, I was really interested in desktop applications. The idea that you could download some kind of application and have it live on your desktop independently of the browser sounded like a great idea. As long as you had a connection, you could consume or experience content in that environment.  It could be branded and have a unique function. Well now these desktop applications have really arrived, in the form of widgets (some say its Web plus Gadget).

First popularized on a german site, Konfabulator , now bought by Yahoo, and also with Apple’s new OS (dashboard), they are available everywhere.

These range from functionality…a weather widget, a mapping widget, even a sudoko widget.  And marketers are jumping in…. example, there is a Harry Porter branded clock widget,  a Mom’s Club Weekly Poll widget and more philanthropic, Donor’s Choose, who sponsors a widget to help raise funds for schools through bloggers.

Commerce opportunities abound. Amazon widgets, ‘air compare’-find the best price for tickets, a WOOT widget (highly discounted items) and the opportunity to brand them.

There are some that offer functionality within some of the  newer web solutions; Sixpart has widgets that they call “bling for your blog”. 

Think of these as great give aways for opting in or another way to extend your brands benefits by offering a helpful solution to an everyday task.  They can be downloaded off of webpages or even banner advertisements

And they can be fun too….games, niche themed content ( find discount shoes), you name it, there’s a widget to be born

Here is a good list of where to find them: