by Erica Driver.

Today, IBM announced that it will bring Google’s consumer-style Web utilities, called Google Gadgets, into WebSphere Portal 6.0 and WebSphere Portal Express. Nearly 4,000 Google Gadgets will be available to WebSphere Portal 6.0 customers at no additional cost. Google Gadgets include things like package tracking, Wikipedia searches, language translators, weather, and–my personal favorite–the Virtual Flower Pot. (Just today I realized that the reason my red tulips weren’t growing is because I wasn’t watering them by mousing over them frequently enough.) What this all means:

  • This move increases WebSphere’s value. Google Gadgets, alongside the oodles of portlets that IBM and its business partners already provide for WebSphere Portal (see this list), will encourage adoption of WebSphere Portal as an important element of composite app infrastructure. It’s about more than virtual tulips; Google Gadgets also include busines-suitable tools like stock ticker trackers, currency converters, and Web site traffic monitors. For more Forrester viewpoints see the January 17, 2007, Forrester report "Business Software Platform Vendor Profile: IBM" and see the October 4, 2006, Forrester report "Trends 2006-07: Application Server Platforms."
  • Digital work environments are becoming more contextual. With Google Gadget support in WebSphere Portal, people will be able to get valuable services delivered to their digital work environments that they previously have only been able to get when they have their consumer hats on. Workers will receive these services contextually–in the context of the portal environment they use every day to find and interact with information and people and get work done. For more information on the importance of contextual services see the March 8, 2006, Forrester report "Context Is King In The New World Of Work."
  • Web 2.0 technology complicates the life of information and knowledge management pros. As more rich content, mashups, and social computing become part of the work environment, part of an information and knowledge management professional’s job will be to figure out how to optimize all the options available to workers based on their roles so that information overload goes down and productivity and innovation go up. For related research see the Jan. 10, 2007, Forrester report "Wikis Change The Meaning Of ‘Groupthink’" and see the Sept. 10, 2006, Forrester report "Social Computing For The Enterprise Architect."