I think I’ve made it fairly clear by now that Amazon.com’s search engine makes my skull hurt, but I’m really digging almost everything else they’re doing. Today Amazon launched new “Amazon Widgets,” an interface for building — yes! Widgets that have to do with Amazon! You can start building and implementing widgets at http://widgets.amazon.com/ .
Currently Amazon has sixteen widgets available. Most of them require you logging in with an Amazon account, but a few of them don’t. Some of the widgets look really familiar (a widget banner, a widget search box), but some of them look like fun content (like the Amazon Unbox Video Previewer, which is available only in the US. All other widgets are available for any Amazon site that offers the Amazon Associates program. Yes, many of these widgets allow you to use your referral code.)
I took a look at the Product Cloud Widget, one of the few widgets that doesn’t require a signin. You can specify an Amazon product category (or use the whole store), customize titles and colors, and use sliderbars to change the size of the cloud. Amazon says the items in the cloud will be relevant to the content of your page. I have a cloud below; I leave matching judgment up to you.
For the multimedia fan in you, Amazon has a slide show widget, wherein you can search all of Amazon for product images and add them (with your comments) to a widget slide show. I see potential for unbounded silliness but I shall restrain myself and show you a demure slideshow of books by some of the people at Web Search University. (Oh, and one book by Barbara Quint to see if she’s paying attention.) This one has two steps — find the images and then specify widget size, transition type, speed, etc. This one I had problems seeing in preview, so I’m not sure if it’s going to work or not.
http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fresearchbuz03-20%2F8003%2F233e8874-082e-4f6e-812b-e54e313ce84a&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate Amazon.com Widgets
These are just two of the widgets. Other widgets include Wish List, Favorites, and Product Reviews. I think I’ll spend some more time playing with the product cloud…