Friday, March 27, 2009

Yahoo Widgets Lend Brains to Boob Tube - WSJ

If you missed this article about Yahoo's new widget engine you should definitely take a moment to read a bit about.

The idea... Take all those people around the world who are sitting on their couch watching TV with their laptop on. Surfing the net, youtubing, twittering, facebooking, etc. Or those kids who are on their I-Phones text messaging the world and checking out some pics someone uploaded to their Picasa while their family is eating dinner with the TV on in the background. Note... you might not be able to relate too much to this if you're not from the US, where we love to watch TV during dinner.

Basically Yahoo is capitalizing off that basic idea of combining the most common things people do on the Internet in multi-tasking mode. People will be able to social network, wikipedia things, google, youtube and more. Yahoo has designed some great widgets to facilitate the process and also help it generate some add revenue. So it might not be the worst idea in the world to pick up some shares of yahoo either.

Although as you can see the stock doesn't have the most stellar appeal because of its still relatively high trading price considering the state of this current market. Nevertheless, the fact Yahoo has held up considerably well in this downturn while fighting off take-over bids from MSN and Google, is something worthy of mention and thinking about.

In other words, Yahoo is not going anywhere. If it does get bought out by some bully, it won't be on the cheap. This offers shareholders some security in knowing their investment will not suddenly evaporate--which is a legitimate concern these days.

Here's a excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article:

Your television set may be the most expensive, eye-catching piece of electronic equipment in your home, but compared to a computer with Internet access, it's just a dumb box. With their low-tech IQs, TVs encourage a lot of family-room multitasking: While watching the big screen TV, lots of people are looking away to surf the Web with the computer on their lap or the mobile device in their hand.


If you're reading this and thinking that Internet on the TV has been tried before with limited success, you're right. For years, companies have designed external boxes that bring some form of the Web to your TV. These include Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, Apple Inc.'s Apple TV and some features of TiVo. But the Yahoo Widget Engine differs from these boxes in two ways. First, Yahoo's widget system works simultaneously with your TV programming, so you don't have to turn off the college basketball game to pull up a news story about a star player. Second, it will include widgets with video content that directly compete with live programming.


With a few steps, snippets of information, or shortcuts, can be created for certain widgets, like Yahoo Weather and Finance, to save you from opening the widget to see more details in a left-side panel. I created a Yahoo Finance snippet for McDonald's stock so I could see this stock's status at the bottom of my screen without opening the Finance widget. People who have Yahoo accounts can synchronize their account settings with the TV, such as stocks saved in Yahoo Finance.