Google's (GOOG) press release describing the expansion of a beta program for what are being called Gadget Ads has showed that "widgets" are now a mature enough technology to become a serious component in Google's ad platform.
The widgets are just Google Gadgets with some commands added to the API to support tracking user clicks. Currently, the ads are being placed on sites the old-fashioned way, based on site content and advertising agreements. There is not yet a context-sensitive engine behind the ad serving function.
For now, Google is running an expanded beta with a limited number of large advertisers but the expectation is that the technology will migrate to the AdSense platform soon. The interactive nature of the Gadget Ads is said to significantly improve click-through rates.
Advertisers are hopeful that certain ads will be sufficiently fun or useful that users will want to put these widgets/Gadgets on their own pages. Advertisers are looking at Gadget Ads as having the added benefit that it simplifies the infrastructure of viral marketing.
In any case, Google has again shown inspiration in re-purposing its Gadget format for ads and will, no doubt, rake in the dollars as the ads proliferate.
Related content: see my article at the Trade Radar blog where I discuss in more detail the business implications.
The widget consists of a simple drop-down menu and text box. Enter a ticker symbol and select from the drop-down various stock research activities. View charts, search blogs, Google, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money or EDGAR SEC filings. The widget pops up results in a new window.
A cool feature of this widget is that it can be sized for sidebars (vertical) or as a top-of-page search facility (horizontal).
Click here to check out the Stock Linkz widget now.
I have updated the StockLinkz portion of the OpenLinkz product so that users can now search for SEC filings at the EDGAR web site. This service is provided by Google. Filings can be downloaded or viewed online. If you want to pull financial statements into spreadsheets, a format that supports that is available.
This is an excellent way to get past the analysts and pundits and look directly into the information provided by the companies themselves.
I recently wrote a post describing how someone who likes to keep an eye on the stock market could use a combination of the widgets I have developed at WidgetBox.com. Today I want to announce that I have created a page that demonstrates what I was talking about. It's called the TradeRadar Stock Center - Live Market Monitor.
The page provides a configurable list of quotes that is updated every 30 seconds. There are four small charts that can each be set up to display an individual stock, ETF or index. The charts also update every 30 seconds. (Quotes and charts are courtesy of Yahoo!). All are widgets.
The Stock Market Update feed and Bond Market Update feed from Briefing.com are provided. Both are widgets. These feeds are updated every hour or half hour throughout the trading day. I have provided each feed with a refresh button so you can get the latest update without having to reload the whole web page and possibly lose what you have set up.
If you see something interesting happening on your charts or your quote list, analysis tools are provided so you can search for articles on SeekingAlpha.com (another widget). There is also some standard HTML stuff on the page that has the potential to become widgets. These include forms to launch analysis on StockConsultant.com or AmericanBulls.com sites or to quickly jump to a stock's profile on Yahoo Finance or MSN Money, get more stock charts or search blogs, Google or EDGAR.
The beauty of this page is that you can monitor a number of stocks simultaneously without having to refresh the page constantly. And the tools are set up so you can just input a ticker symbol and click a button and you get the information you need.
The page is located here at my widget web site, OpenLinkz.com. Check it out at http://openlinkz.com/stockcenter.html
I have put together a collection of stock market related widgets at WidgetBox. This post suggests a use for the whole bunch.
First, I'd like to list the widgets:
- Articles from SeekingAlpha.com
- Stock Market Update RSS feed from Briefing.com
I pre-program the LiveStockQuotes to display major stock market averages and my favorite stocks of interest. I have four sets of LiveStockCharts on the page that I can use to monitor the price action of multiple stocks at the same time.
Every once in a while I hit the Refresh button on the Market Update RSS feed from Briefing.com to get an idea of what's driving the market at the moment. With the Refresh button, the widget displays the newest updates but I don't have to re-load the whole HTML page.
I keep the SeekingAlpha widget on the page so that I have ready access to the latest articles and opinions on stocks I might be interested in.
Currently, I have this Market Monitor configured as a simple HTML page on my desktop that I keep up all day so I can check the market whenever I get a spare minute. Here is a link to an example: view Live StockCenter. Enter your own ticker symbols and try out all the charts and analysis tools that are included.
This is probably my best widget so far. It will display stock quote data including current price, change in price since previous trading day and percent change for one or more stocks, ETFs or indices. It updates throughout the trading day (US markets only) at 30 second intervals.
You can set this up so that it automatically displays your whole portfolio. You can set it up so it displays all major indices. Or you can set it up so that you can enter the ticker symbols of those equities you are interested in at that moment.
There is a simple form in which you or other users can enter a list of ticker symbols, separated by commas. The data is displayed in a tabular format. You can set up the widget so the form is hidden and only the stocks you entered at initialization can be displayed.
This widget is a bit wide at about 260 pixels but it offers lots of flexibility and is one of the few quote widgets that updates continuously. Data is obtained from Yahoo. Index data is up the minute, all other data is delayed by 15 minutes.
Check out the LiveStockQuote widget now at WidgetBox.com
I have developed a new stock chart widget. It is available at WidgetBox.com and is called LiveStockChart. It allows a user to enter a ticker symbol and then displays a small chart from Yahoo. The cool thing about it, however, is that it updates every 30 seconds. You can
visually track the price performance of a stock or ETF all day long (or as long as US markets are open). It also provides a link to the stock's profile at Yahoo Finance.
LiveStockChart's small size allows it to fit into a sidebar and its sticky characteristics may be just what you need to keep your users on your site.
Check out LiveStockChart at WidgetBox.
If you want the code to directly embed in your pages, get the code in a TXT file.
I have rolled out another widget that will be good for the financial bloggers. It allows the reader to enter a ticker symbol for a stock or ETF and retrieve a list of recent articles from SeekingAlpha.com.
You can find it at WidgetBox at the following URL: NewsFromSeekingAlpha.
I have been experimenting with widgets at the WidgetBox.com site and I have created two new ones.
The first one is a small search box that invokes a custom search at Rollyo for News and Current Events. It searches a number of news sites for stories based on the search term you entered. It's called News from Rollyo and you can get it or try it out by clicking on this link which will take you directly to the page at WidgetBox.
The second one provides local traffic alerts and road conditions based on data from Yahoo! You can get it or play with it by clicking this link.
Both of these widgets can be used in the sidebar of your blog or anywhere else you would like to place them.
Examples of OpenLinkz have so far been shown on light colored backgrounds. Suppose you have a dark color scheme on your pages? No problem.
The OpenLinkz widget can be configured to provide different styles for the appearance of links. There are three options:
(1) You can adjust the border underneath the link. It can be solid or dashed.
(2) You can adjust the color of the border under the link.
(3) You can adjust the color of the link when you hover over it.
Some examples are shown below against a dark blue background.
Note that the first parameter was left blank; ie, two single quotes with nothing in between. This means accept the default value which is 'dashed'.
Here is a cheat sheet:
|1||Bottom Border||'', 'dashed', 'solid', 'none'|
|2||Border Color||'', color names such as 'red', 'blue', etc. and numeric colors such as '#e6e6e6 or '#000000'|
|3||Background Color||same as Parameter #2|
OK, so you took a look at OpenLinkz and decided there is just too much typing involved. Should you use the ANCHOR tag or the SPAN tag? What's with all this stuff in the "onmousever" event? And for that matter, why fool around with "onmouseover" at all?
You'll be glad to know that we've taken OpenLinkz to a new level of simplicity. Here are the improvements.
First, you don't have to add the script at the end of your page to initialize OpenLinkz.
Second, if you don't want to use ANCHOR tags, you don't have to. Since SPAN and ANCHOR tags work pretty much the same, OpenLinkz lets you use either one. But if you want to be simple, just use the SPAN tag. OpenLinkz will underline it with a dashed line so readers will know it is clickable.
Third, if you don't want to designate search terms, you don't have to. This means you can leave out the "onmouseover" function call to openLinkz(this, ...). As long as there is a reasonable search term within the opening and closing parts of the tag, OpenLinkz will figure it out. Here is an example:
Here is how it looks in a sentence: AJAX is driving the development of Web 2.0
It can't get much simpler than that.
Let's look at a couple of other examples. Here is a sentence that uses links to general news and to stock market tools.
Here is how this looks: Options backdating is even affecting Apple (AAPL).
Use this cheat sheet to make sure you are following the basic rules for setting up the OpenLinkz widget and getting it to work on your pages. Once you have the initialization stuff done (see the prior post on Enabling OpenLinkz for more details), there are just a few things to keep in mind: use the right tags, set up the onmouseover event properly and spell the class name correctly.
Load the Code
- Use either an ANCHOR tag or a SPAN tag
- Set up the "onmouseover" event:
- onmouseover="openLinkz(this, 'first search term', 'second search term');"
- Be careful with the quotes.
Or leave it out altogether and let OpenLinkz supply a default (see the OpenLinkz Simplified post).
- Supply the tag with the appropriate CLASS name (class="xxxxLink") as shown in the table below.
- Remember, class names are case sensitive.
|OpenLinkz Theme||tag Class|
|news and current events||newsLink|
Here are the input parameters to the initializeOpenLinkz() function that you can use to modify the appearance of links (see the Changing the Appearance of Links post).
- Parameter #1: Bottom Border, possible values: '', 'dashed', 'solid', 'none'
- Parameter #2: Border Color, possible values: '', color names such as 'red', 'blue', etc. and numeric colors such as '#e6e6e6 or '#000000'
- Parameter #3, Background Color, possible values: same as Parameter #2
Enabling OpenLinkz in your pages
It is very easy to install the OpenLinkz widget in your web page or blog. The script file needs to be loaded. When the page loads, the functionality will be automatically initialized. The following code snippets show you how to do it.
If you are using Blogger or one of the other XML-based blogging applications, you may find that the code snippet above causes an error. In that case, try pasting into the HEAD section of your XML template the following code snippet:
Please read the post OpenLinkz Simplified to see all the tips on how you can streamline your HTML by leaving out any reference to the OpenLinkz functionality.
(1) The word 'this' (with no quotes) must always be the first parameter.
(2) The primary search word must always be the second parameter. In the case of a stockLink, this must be the symbol for the stock.
(3) The third parameter is optional. It can be any search term that enhances the search experience. In the stockLink example, you could pass the company name in this parameter to enhance the search capability. This where you can really fine tune the search.
Note that the tag must have the correct class in order to work properly. At this time it can be either "stockLink", "newsLink" or "techLink". Be careful: it is case sensitive and must be spelled exactly as shown. This is the one thing that must always be included in your tag in order for the OpenLinkz widget to work.
An example of using StockLinkz (OpenLinkz for the stock market) with an anchor tag and the stock symbol:
Here's how the example above looks: Microsoft (MSFT)
There may be situations where you are using a classname for your anchor tags already in order to give links a particular look or style. No problem. In this case, you can implement OpenLinkz using a span tag and your links will remain just as you like them. An example of using TechLinkz with a span tag and two search terms:
Here's how the example above looks in a sentence: AJAX is driving the growth of Web 2.0
Be sure to review the other posts on setting up the OpenLinkz widget, especially OpenLinkz Simplified and OpenLinkz Cheat Sheet.
OpenLinkz is a new widget I have been working on that I'm ready to share.
OpenLinkz is a pop-up menu widget that automatically provides links to commonly used information sources organized by a particular theme. As examples, themes can relate to the stock market, technology, general news, social sites, maps and geography, etc.
OpenLinkz takes a search term that you provide (usually the key word you are highlighting in your text) and constructs the links to each site listed in the theme so the user can immediately retrieve information related to that key word.
So far, there are three ways to use OpenLinkz and I have a nickname for each:
- stockLinkz - OpenLinkz for stock market bloggers
- techLinkz - OpenLinkz for technology bloggers
- newsLinkz - OpenLinkz for those who write about news and current events
Here are some examples (move your mouse and hover over the underlined word):
- Microsoft (MSFT) recently reported strong earnings.
- AJAX is driving the growth of Web 2.0
- Senate leader Harry Reid says the war in Iraq is lost.