I've been a fan of gadgets/widgets since before Yahoo bought Konfabulator. I use them on my desktop and feature them on my blog. I've posted before about how I feel these mini-apps will only become more important in the future, but this demo from the Mix conference really drives the point home. If you were previously convinced that gadgets and widgets are silly little toys, take the time to watch that video and see what Disney is using them for.
My first reaction to this was, "cool...I'm glad to see some interesting things being done with gadgets beyond the same old CPU meter, memory gauge, etc." My second reaction was, "what an interesting advertising/marketing vehicle." Then again, what's the incentive for me to put your advertising-laced gadget on my desktop?
It's all about the content you're providing and the services you're offering, right? After all, nobody wants to clutter up their desktop with a bunch of advertisements. Disney's example was very content rich, offered dynamic updates via RSS and looks very inviting and entertaining. Plus, there are only so many Firefox tabs I can possibly keep open at one time, so why not take advantage of that desktop surface area for more content options? I love the approach and hope to see more gadgets like it on some of my hobbies and interests.
P.S. -- Don't overlook the direct-to-consumer and tracking capabilities of this sort of service. At the end of the video they mention how they've built that sort of logic into the Disney gadget. Thanks to the fact that it's so dynamic they can adjust the content, features, etc., based on the usage information they're tracking. Very cool.
P.P.S. -- If you're in the content business (e.g., books, magazines, newspapers, video, etc.) and you don't already have a gadget strategy you better start working on one soon! It's yet another way to distribute your content and reinforce brand awareness.