Yesterday, I got a call from Christy Simmons, an intern at Widgenie, asking me to take a look at a new data-display widget service. Since I’ve been contemplating a series on measurement, her timing was impeccable, so I checked it out.
Below is my first chart created using Widgenie. Data entry is as simple as uploading an Excel spreadsheet or a CSV file — the short training video is all I needed to get started.
I had a problem importing the data from an Excel 97-2004 formatted XLS file (created from three different sources (Open Office, Google Docs, and Excel 2008), but the native Excel 2008 and CSV files worked as advertised. Since the service is still beta (and free!), I’m willing to give ’em a pass on this little annoyance. I used a CSV file exported from Open Office 2.4 to create this chart.
For example, lets say that you want to publish data that changes from week-to-week. Instead of creating a new chart every week, you simply update your spreadsheet and upload it to Widgenie, overwriting the old one. Since the widget is tied directly to the file on the Widgenie server, the data will always be up-to-date, rippling through to wherever the widget is embedded. I see this as an advantage for companies wanting to maintain live customized dashboards of all sorts of data.
Lastly, Widgenie also gathers stats. Since the widget is both embeddable and sharable, these stats will help you monitor where your data is traveling to and what sorts of traffic it generates. I’ll let you know how this is working for me over the next few months.
So far I like what I see, and this New Media Evangelist plans on using Widgenie to share and analyze data.
Update: I just noticed that the chart is not displayed in Google Reader. This is a little disappointing but hopefully Widgenie will figure out a way to make this happen.