National Geographic expands widget program

Nat Geo to let third parties co-brand widgets and add the code to their own Web sites.

The multimedia unit of National Geographic Ventures last week said it is expanding its foray into the world of widgets with a new campaign to let third parties co-brand the publisher's widgets and add the code to their own Web sites.

At the same time, NewsGator Technologies agreed to create, host and track dynamic widgets -- small, single-purpose code snippets -- for the National Geographic Society.

Rob Covey, senior vice president of content and design at National Geographic Digital Media, said the first batch of widgets offered to third parties includes one that transforms photographs into digital puzzles.

To date, Covey said, the puzzle widget has been syndicated to 23 media sites, including Tampa Bay Online and, extending the potential reach of the National Geographic widget to more than 3 million new users.

On partner sites, the puzzle widget includes a link to the National Geographic site, where new puzzles are added several times daily, he added.

"For a lot of our partners, finding applications that might be interesting to the Facebook generation is problematic," Covey said, noting that the puzzle idea was inspired partly by input from National Geographic employees under the age of 25.

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