According to a comScore report on widgets, “More than 81 million consumers in North America–or a full 40.3%–were exposed in April to an emerging viable advertising channel, Web widgets, according to a new widget tracking service just launched by comScore.”
When it comes to widgets and desktop micro-applications, one question (or dismissive comment) I keep hearing is “won’t desktops soon be littered with widgets and apps that will clutter up the space“?
Well, like anything else, it depends on how an individual uses it. The whole point of selective offerings like widgets is that it is in the hands of individuals to select whatever suits their unique needs or interests.
However, it made me wonder more about a larger related issue, something that has been on my mind for a while. It is the whole notion that we are beginning to suffer from aggregation aggravation. It is about how the things that were meant to make life simpler seem to be adding noise, not always reducing it.
Have we jumped the shark by creating too many applications and methods of collecting and/or streaming content and data of all shapes and sizes? It seems to me that we now stand in a digital space littered with new programs, propriety plays and add-ons for staple applications launching almost daily, all fighting for prominence. And it is very hard to tell who will last. I can’t tell you how many hours I invested each with Yahoo!, Netvibes, Bloglines, Juice, and Google Reader etc – all with the same function in mind. (Please note: I am not complaining, just observing).
Yes, XML/RSS and pull versus push approach is the future. But, the choice between readers, aggregators, directories, tagging and social book marking sites and ways to collect/categorize/park content is never ending. All this choice with layers folksonomy smeared on top is quite staggering. Begs the question “how will the nascent consumer navigate and rationalize the tools that serve their core needs best”? In other words, how will my Mom ever get through this? Consumers will likely need a desktop digital sherpa to navigate through it all. (Cha-ching, theres another idea to add to the pile!)
Enter Facebook. If you have been paying any attention to the site and it’s growing functionality and applications (i.e not just the collection of friends you can amass), Facebook has managed to tap into the role of simplifying things in a manner that I believe will continue their ascent to become a top web destination.
Facebook is poised as a one-stop jumping-off point with collective purpose for the average Joe or Jane and, that will make a huge difference in terms of becoming an online beacon. The plug and play social applications and internal widgets/boxes are increasingly interesting both in terms of functionality and breadth of offering to the platform. The open-source development of these tools is accelerating growth and usage of Facebook because the web savvy and non-savvy alike are presented with an equal footing to create a space in a way that MySpace seems to fall short (at least in my estimation).
My prediction is that, because of its ability to cut through some of the aggregation aggravation, while also offering entertainment value and the core purpose of social networking, Facebook will prevail as the destination of choice in this space.
What are your thoughts on this? Call into The Client Side Podcast line at 1-206-666-2242. I’d love to hear you thoughts and share with other listeners.