Google announced Google Gadget Ventures to fund the development of Wadgets (Widget+Gadget) for iGoogle. They offer two types of funding:
- A grant of 5k for those that have an existing gadget with at least 250k page views per week, in their gadget directory.
- Seed financing of 100k, in return for an equity stake, for companies that have already received the 5k grant.
- Google Gadget Ventures
- Google press release
- TechCrunch (where I first saw it) coverage
This is a quirky validation of webtop and desktop wadgets. Quirky because Google is using an incentive as blunt as brass knuckles to encourage developers; yet they need to have already established a somewhat popular wadget. Validating because they see that there is a wadget platform war brewing with Yahoo!, Apple, Microsoft et al and they are making an aggressive move.
It appears that the Wadget Economy still revolves almost entirely around the development of wadgets by internal teams or developers for hire. Clearspring has taken this to a new level, offering cross platform support and reporting, but nobody has stepped up with a pure wadget play based on the inherent value of a given wadget or set of wadgets.
Google cannot make this happen single handedly but they have raised the ante. Fuel for the fire. Looking forward to the next steps from competitive platforms.