Yahoo goes beyond the browser with widget buy

Yahoo goes beyond the browser with widget buy.

Yahoo on Monday purchased the company behind Konfabulator, a JavaScript runtime engine that lets developers create mini applications called widgets.

Konfabulator can be used to make customized desktop applications
composed of clocks, calendars, lottery results, WiFi signal strength,
stock prices, and traffic conditions, to name a few. Konfabulator's Widget Gallery offers thousands of downloadable widgets created by third-party developers.

As a result of the acquisition, Konfabulator will now be free and
will be called Yahoo Widgets. Before Yahoo entered the picture, a
single user license was priced at $19.95. According to information
posted to the Konfabulator site, users who purchased Konfabulator 2.0 or later will be given a refund.

One big reason that the tiny company Pixoria piqued Yahoo's interest
is that Konfabulator can free Internet content from the confines of a
Web browser.

Yahoo is making moves designed to open up its platform to the developer community– a strategy also pursued by Web search rival Google.

Widgets can be easily customized, and can blend fluidly into a
user's desktop without traditional window borders. This means, for
example, that an alarm clock application can be dropped into a calendar
application to create an application that does both.

According to Toni Schneider, vice president of Yahoo's Developer
Network, the sheer variety of existing widgets shows that Internet
users want more than what Yahoo and other portals can deliver via a
single Web page.

“It is letting us go beyond the browser. This is creating new ways
for users to access our services rather than just [by going] to,” he said.

Schneider gave an example of Yahoo's online calendar, which becomes
more powerful if it can be accessed in places other than Yahoo's site.
If a developer can easily tie the calendar to a travel Web site, for
example, booking trips can be done faster and without having to jump
back and forth between multiple browser windows. Similarly, if an alarm
clock widget is embedded inside an online calendar, perhaps fewer
meetings will be missed.

“This is way beyond what we can do on a single Web page,” he aid.

Combining Konfabulater with Yahoo's initiative to open its APIs,
means that pieces of Yahoo's content and services can be combined with
other applications and content to create entirely new tools, Schneider

Developers “can take a Yahoo service and another service, and mix and match it into a new product,” he said.

Konfabulator's widgets can use content from “anywhere and everywhere,” said Arlo Rose, CEO of Pixoria.

It is not just limited to using Yahoo's content, Rose added.  [InfoWorld TechWatch]

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