Photo widgets have largest number of users, study

User-generated content has helped create a worldwide marketplace for widgets

More Web sites in North America embed photo-related widgets than other types of these small, single purpose chunks of code, according to a newly released study.

The study results are based on figures compiled in April by comScore's Widget Metrix service, which tracks the usage of widgets across the Web. Widget Matrix, unveiled by comScore last week, tracks the use of widgets, small applications commonly used to embed customized news, photos, weather, videos or other content on blogs and personalized Web pages.

Slide, a widget that allows users to publish personalized slide shows and other digital content, was the most popular widget used in April, according to the study. About 117 million unique viewers accessed the Slide widget, or 13.8 percent of the total worldwide widget audience that month, according to comScore. Other top widgets used in April included RockYou, PictureTrail, Photobucket and BunnyHeroLabs, the study said.

"The recent explosion of user-generated content has helped create a worldwide marketplace for widgets," said Linda Boland Abraham, executive vice president at comScore, in a statement.

In addition, as companies such as Facebook Inc. open their application programming interfaces to developers, the distribution of widgets will continue to expand, according to ComScore.

For example, widget syndication company Clearspring Technologies plans to announce this week that it is opening up its Community Platform technology to any developer to write, track and distribute widgets across the Web. The platform provides a set of tools to transform content and applications into widgets, syndicate widgets across multiple platforms and use analytics to track the spread of widgets across the Web, according to Clearsping.

In April, comScore said, 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).

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