Netvibes offers universal widget approach

Netvibes has been working on a way to give widget makers the ability to run their widgets on any widget platform, whether it's Vista, Mac Dashboard, Opera, iGoogle, or Windows Live. Now the fruit of their labor, the Universal Widget API, is in the wild, and it promises to increase exposure for widgeteers whose artful output was previously stunted because "it's not available for <x-widget-platform>".

Today, there are only about a thousand UWA-based widgets, but the number grows daily. Netvibes promises support for Yahoo Widgets in a forthcoming release, too. It makes us wonder if there's really such a thing as a killer widget, one that plays into the strengths of a particular desktop platform. Since most web widgets are RSS-based and limited in platform-specific functionality, we suspect most UWA widgets will be simplistic. So many widgets will likely still be limited to a particular platform, since they often have to talk to platform or app-specific applications in order to do their jobs, like, say an XBox remote control widget.

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