What Widgets Do | 2011-10-12

Widgets are applications that run in the background all the time. If you have a widget on your computer it is probably a clock, a calculator, possibly even an animated fish tank. On your phone a widget may be a weather service or something that tells you where the lowest gas prices are.

These are useless. Widgets take simple things that need to be done maybe once or twice a day and run them constantly.

The weather service is the worst offender of this. No one needs up to the minute weather information. Look outside! In fact, the weather app should have the current weather as the smallest bit of information, because it is the least relevant.

Weather App running on Android

Side Rant: I hate it when I say that I'm hot or someething and the person I'm with pulls out their phone and says, "Well it's 85 degrees!" I don't give a fuck what temperature it is right now, I'm just trying to tell you I'm uncomfortable!

Side Side Rant: Actually, any time I say something that makes a person I'm talking to pull out their phone, I regret it. Pay attention to me. Escape from your digital prison. But this is a topic for another time.

When people look for weather info they want to know what the weather will be like. This can be accomplished by looking at the weather once in the morning before heading to work. Or maybe it could be like Tony Stark and your phone alarm, after you swipe at it mindlessly to hit the snooze, could announce the current time and weather forcast for the day.

Why do people think they need widgets always running and taking up battery life? They look cool and they represent the future, where information is always at our fingertips. Hint: that future is already here and it can be accessed through a series of web pages. Maybe it doesn't look like Minority Report, but it's just as useful.