Saturday, January 17, 2009

BBC widgets

At the tail end of 2006, I confidently predicted that 2007 would be the year of the widget and thanks in no small part to Facebook and iGoogle both 'going large' in that year (see respective news stories), I wasn't embarrassingly wrong.

Yesterday marked a more modest milestone in the 'mainstreamisation' (warning: made up word alert) of widgets as some of my colleagues quietly launched bbc.co.uk/widgets. It's pretty light on widgets at the moment (four at the time of writing) but I've got a feeling that could grow pretty quickly, even if all it does is aggregate more of the BBC widgets already out in the wild (e.g. LiveUpdate, Lily Allen, Glastonbury, Olympics).

One of the new widgets available is the BBC iPlayer widget (embedded below) which promotes a selection of TV and Radio content available to consume on-demand via BBC iPlayer, with some very light-touch personalisation built in (thumbs up, thumbs down). You can't actually watch programmes within the widget (I guess the viewing experience might be slightly sub-optimal at 300 pixels), although the Clearspring wrapper provides easy integration with an extensive range of social media sites (incl. Facebook and iGoogle) as well as the vanilla embed code.

Designed more as a proof of concept than a major distribution play, it will be interesting to see whether it garners many installs. Of course it'll need to get linked to first; here's link number one for Google to spider: BBC Widgets. Now go forth any embed...

4 comments:

Dan said...

'You can't actually watch programmes within the [iPlayer] widget (I guess the viewing experience might be slightly sub-optimal at 300 pixels)'

With a BBC Vision head I get that, but considering the proliferation of content consumed on mobile, it seems slightly short-sighted. If someone *chooses* to consuime the content in the small window - let them; if they want to link to an iPlayer platform site proper to watch - all to the good.

Choice - s'what it's all about.

Dan

Nathan said...

Now that I've switched to Vista, I wonder how I ever lived without widgets. Even just the clock and the calendar can be incredibly useful if I need to check it quickly.

One widget that I use a lot is the one for National Rail enquires that provides up to date information on train departures. As someone who travels a lot on trains, it is a must

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