As expected following months of news about trials, Verizon Communications has integrated special widget versions of Facebook and Twitter with FiOS TV. The offerings are available through the company's Widget Bazaar Applications Marketplace (double redundancy there?). In a further sign that the app store and third-party software development movement are spreading throughout telecom, Light Reading reports that Verizon also announced a software development kit to enable third-parties to innovate new offerings for the WBAM (a bit catchier, no?). In addition, the carrier said it has worked with blip.tv, Dailymotion, and Veoh Networks to push more Internet-derived video content through its Home Media DVR service, where FiOS TV customers can search for it.
The widgets move has been telegraphed since last summer, when Verizon first began to talk about its testing of Facebook and Twitter offerings, though in truth Verizon has talked about the general concept of TV widgets since at least 2007. Over the same period of time, it also became apparent that Verizon was working on incorporating YouTube content into FiOS TV as well. YouTube, however, was not mentioned in this week's Verizon announcement. Nor was online TV juggernaut Hulu. Rob Pegoraro of The Washington Post notes in his own story on the announcement that Verizon says it is talking to YouTube about coming aboard, but that it may not feel the need to work with Hulu.
It will be interesting to see if the widgets and the online video additions take off. Various IPTV providers have looked at offering widgets and have done trade show demonstrations with their vendors, though it is not a surprise to see Verizon, who has the largest TV subscriber audience of any U.S. telco (at least 2.2 million) be the most assertive at dipping its toe into commercial waters. Meanwhile, Light Reading argues that the new content in some ways has been relegated away from Verizon's primary video-on-demand service, though DVR services certainly are becoming more popular and support the search capabilities to help subscribers find the new content.
Verizon provided support for TV widgets back in 2007
Verizon has been talking about TV widgets since last year
Verizon's Terry Denson is fascinated by TV widgets
Telephony took a closer look at TV widgets back in May