Widgeo.us Open Up its Communication Platform to Developers

Widgeo.us Logo

Widgeo.us brings together communication channels (eg. email, SMS, MSN Messenger, Twitter, Google Talk and Facebook Chat) into one platform. Orgoo also pulls together IM, emails, SMS and voice into an integrated Web-based messaging platform. So is Chatterous, which consolidates IM, phone and email to enable group chat. However, Orgoo and Chatterous focus on messaging, whereas Widgeo.us, a Singapore-based start-up, creates a cross-channels communication platform and extends it beyond messaging by allowing applications to leverage its capabilities (applications already running on Widgeo.us are dictionary, language translation, weather, chat-room and Hangman game).

Widgeo.us ApplicationsEach application has its own set of commands. These commands are used to instruct the application for results or actions. For example, to get a definition of, say, ‘homeostasis’, type ‘dictionary define homeostasis‘ in the Widgeous device. Alternatively, you can ‘direct message’ Widgeous bot on Twitter with the similar command-line; Widgeo.us will ‘direct message’ you the answer on Twitter.

Figure 1 below simplistically illustrates the Widgeo.us ecosystem, which consists of three key elements – Applications, Channels and Users.

Consider Widgeo.us as a residential neighborhood and the Channels are modes of transport – on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, Segway, car, bus and taxi. Residences (Users) are using these modes of transport to go to amenities / facilities (Applications) within the neighborhood. In the town of Widgeo.us, the amenities and facilities are easily and readily accessible by various transportation options. Availability of efficient transportation and quality amenities / facilities enhance quality of life, and thus, increases the value of the neighborhood. Similarly, in the case of Widgeo.us platform, its value is dependent on the variety of channels and diversity of applications.

Figure 1: The Widgeo.us Ecosystem

Platform Play

Applications with noticeable increase in usefulness when accessibility increases can benefit the most from Widgeo.us. Developers only code once and their applications are accessible across multiple channels. This save time and effort. With Widgeo.us, developers can focus more on developing application functionality.

Widgeo.us HackathonTo catalyze the growth of its applications, Widgeo.us has opened up its platform to third-party application developers on July 26, 2008. The on-going Hackathon contest aims to spur interest among developers to develop applications for its platform and winners get cash prizes (and ‘publicity’). Recently, the Singapore Symposium on Computational Biology has used Widgeo.us for its participants registration.

The founders of Widgeo.us are CEO Ridzuan Ashim and CTO Chua U-Zyn. The company obtained its seed funding from Thymos Capital LLP, a private business incubator. Widgeo.us launched its private beta on May 21 2008.

In a nutshell:


  • A fresh take on integrated messaging tools (compared to Orgoo and Chatterous) and with a strong value proposition.
  • Going platform is a good strategic move. Widgeo.us platform is an open field for diverse types of applications to blossom. To tap the ‘community intelligence’ and quickly scale-up its inventory of applications, opening up its platform is imperative.
  • Today’s proliferation of communication channels requires integration; Widgeo.us offers a compelling solution to the problem.
  • Adaptable and flexible to various revenue models.
  • Widgeo.us is carving its own niche.

  • Typical among companies with platform strategy, the value of the platform is dependent on the quality and quantity of applications available on its platform.
  • As a young ecosystem, Widgeo.us lacks ‘network effect‘. So, it is critical for Widgeo.us to continuously catalyze the momentum and spur its take-off. Network effect is a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

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