The proliferation of widgets – mini-programs, often with a novelty aspect, that people interact with through social networking sites – is giving rise to a second tier of services to help distribute and manage them.
ClickZ reports that a US company called Gigya has emerged specialising in widget distribution. Many widgets are commissioned by companies as advertising tools, hoping that their brand will benefit from association with a creative or quirky widget.
Gigya specialises in getting widgets to customers and generating the hype that can help a widget stand out from the pack and gain a following among the hundreds of millions of social networkers around the world.
“It’s a bit of myth that widgets are inherently viral. What we offer is an incremental way of seeding a viral campaign,” Liza Hausman, Gigya’s marketing VP, told ClickZ. “Only a small handful of these things are so compelling that everybody shares them with their entire networks.”
But the rise of widgets – also known as “apps” – is also creating a new problem in the social network world; widget clutter. Apparently people on sites such as Facebook are now finding that they have agreed to download so many apps on to their page that it is taking too long to load and becoming hard to navigate.
According to webpronews, Facebook is planning to introduce a new function that will help people get rid of unused apps. They can either tuck them away to an offscreen portion of their profile, or, if they are unused for an extended period, deleted.
On the Facebook developers blog, Julie Zhuo says: “We believe this change will allow users to interact with all of their applications in a more meaningful way. In addition to allowing the profile page to load faster, this means users will have an easy way to publicly acknowledge their favourite applications.”