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Measuring Widget Growth Across the Web

comScore announced the launch of their "Widget Metrix" -- a new service to track the usage of widgets across the Web. comScore currently tracks Web widgets, which are data files that can be embedded into a site's HTML code and are typically displayed in a small viewing pane on the website.

They are most often used to display customized or personalized content on a Web site, such as to share photos or music recommendations, and are commonly found on blogs, social networking sites and other personalized web pages.

"The recent explosion of user-generated content has helped create a worldwide marketplace for widgets," said Linda Boland Abraham, executive vice president at comScore. "We are excited to be providing measurement for this developing content medium."

comScore's analysis of the top ten Web widgets worldwide revealed that photo-related widgets dominate the top positions. In April 2007, Slide was the top widget provider with a worldwide reach of more than 117 million unique viewers, or 13.8 percent of the total worldwide Internet audience.

Other top photo-related widgets included RockYou (82 million viewers), PictureTrail (31 million viewers), and Photobucket (28 million viewers). It should also be noted that Facebook's recent announcement that it was opening up access to more third-party widget developers will likely have a significant impact in shaping the widget landscape over the coming months.

As more and more sites across the Internet allow the inclusion of Web widgets, the worldwide penetration will continue to grow. In April, widget penetration was highest in North America where 40.3 percent of Internet users visited a Web site with an embedded widget, followed by Western Europe (24.3 percent) and Latin America (17.5 percent).

The current universe of widgets is defined as embedded flash (.swf) objects. The comScore Widget Metrix service will evolve in its tracking of widget file types as the market dynamics and content delivery systems change. The report currently focuses on the individual widgets, and not the platforms that deliver them. Desktop widgets are also not included.

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