Monday, June 16, 2008

iWidgets Public Beta!

We are doing a soft launch of iWidgets and inviting technical/web poweruser types to play with Quite the opposite approach of the ActiveGrid massive press launches I used to do. :) It has been an honor to work with such a great team of people to deliver what is by far the nicest software I have ever been involved with.

As I have posted on this blog before, people are spending more and more time on social networks like Facebook and portals like iGoogle, and not spending as much time on individual websites. So the question is, what's a website owner to do?

I think that most Facebook applications suck, mainly because they live only within Facebook. How many sheep can you throw at each other? What's really interesting is when you bring user information from outside Facebook into Facebook. For example, iLike, one of the most successful first Facebook apps, shows your friends what you are listening to on iTunes.

Most sites have some type of interesting user data that their users would love to show off on their social profile. Whether it's favorite recipes, outfits they have designed, or comments they have made, letting users show off their data on their social profile builds awareness for your brand and drives traffic back to your site.

iWidgets is a cloud-based Widget solution that provides an easy drag-and-drop interface for website owners and brands to quickly produce sophisticated widgets that extend their website data into widgets. The widgets are published as native Facebook, MySpace, and iGoogle widgets, which are much more intuitive and fit into each destination. This is a huge step up from Flash widgets that are jammed into sites without any awareness of their environment or the social graph. Users prefer native widgets that fit in, so they are much more viral, especially with native features like posting message to a profile's newsfeed. We are also adding promotion features where you can pay for installs to kickstart your widget campaign.

Some technical details:

  • Complete AJAX Widget builder with full drag-and-drop built using the jQuery AJAX library.

  • Users draw lines between both visual components like video players and nonvisual components like feed fetchers to connect data and events.

  • WidgetWORA technology that transforms the widget into a native widget on each destination, no small feat when you consider that FBML is serverside and OpenSocial is clientside and each destination has its own special widget sizes and API's.

  • I hope you can take some time to check it out! Here's how to get started:

  • 3 Minute Screencast - Watch a quick screencast on how iWidgets can help you extend your reach and drive traffic to your website.

  • Gallery of Widgets - Check out a gallery of engaging widgets that extend websites with interesting information about their users into social networks and portals.