Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beta brings Web-based widgets to desktop

Washington DC-based software company Mesa Dynamics has launched Amnesty Hypercube in beta, an application designed to create an iTunes-like market around Web services and widgets.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to iTunes, Amnesty Hypercube allows users to assemble a "playlist" of Web-based widgets and allows them to be opened from the desktop, embedded in the dashboard with the traditional widgets, or placed in social networking sites.

Like iTunes, the left-side navigation bar starts with the "Library" tag, which contains all the user's widgets. By default, it contains five Google Gadgets, as well as some free items from Widgetbox, Gigya, Clearspring, and SpringWidgets.

Beneath the Library tag is Hypercube's equivalent of the iTunes Store, the Publisher Directory. This is a list of sites that offer copy-and-paste-able Web widgets from 175 publishers. Navigating to publishers' sites is still a bit clumsy, as they are forced into the application's inline browser. To navigate back to the list of publishers, rather than hit "back," the user must click "home," thus breaking browsing continuity.

Beta brings Web-based widgets to desktop

Widgets listed in the user's library can be dragged-and-dropped to their desired location, whether that is the desktop, the dashboard, or to a social network. The list of such networks currently supported includes MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, hi5, Friendster, and Orkut.

Hypercube's current beta (v. 0.5) is only available for Mac OS X, though a Windows version is expected in the near future. Hopefully the company will reconsider the dreadful name, too.

  • Google Gadgets for Linux appears
  • Pandora launches a new beta of its desktop music app
  • Opera seeks a wider platform with release of Widgets SDK beta