Article in Business Week entitled The Next Small Thing discusses widgets and how perhaps they are the beginning of web 3.0.
From this article: “more than half of Facebook’s 28 million members have installed at least one application”
“If widgets really take off, they could upset some big apple carts. They undermine performance measures that the ad industry has tried so hard to establish for measuring Web activity, such as page views and time spent on a site. In a world where a Web site can be splintered into a hundred little pieces, widgets reshape the definition of a Web page and an audience. They also could accelerate a move away from big Web portals.”
They are useful in eCommerce apps bringing the store to the user. Some sites offer the widget hoster financial kick backs from sales through their sites. Shopping widgets mark a decentralisation of online shopping, a possible growth fueled by a profitable business model.
They also have the power to turn anyones’s blog or profile page into an advertising platform. Google have embraced this
“As Google sees it, widgets allow people to personalize their Web experience–and in the process produce more effective advertising. “I actually see gadgets themselves as a new form of advertising.”
And in regards to it’s web 3.0 revolutionary impact, this article claims….
“Every so often the creative chaos of the Valley coalesces, preparing the way for sustained profitability around a new business model. The symbiotic relationship of widgets and the social Web might–with a big emphasis on might–mark one of those moments.”
All this being said, I think the success on widgets will rest on the adaptation of profitable businesss models.