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What's the Difference Between a Widget and a Gadget?

What's in a Word?


Widget Gadget

This Donkey Kong game is a widget because it can be used on almost any website. (Image of Widgetbox)

If there is one web trend that is seemingly unending, it is the trend of the Internet to spew forth new words and phrases every year. From portals to blogs to widgets to mashups to Web 2.0, the Internet has a knack for lighting these words on fire. And the worst part is that sometimes the word lacks any true definition that everyone can agree on.

For those just now trying to get a grasp on things, it can make your head spin.

So, if you've come across some 'gadgets,' and you are wondering just what the difference is between them and 'widgets,' you aren't alone. Twenty years ago, explaining the difference between a widget and a gadget would be the stuff of comedy. Nowadays, it is serious discussion.

The easiest way to explain it is that a gadget is any widget that is not a widget. Sound confusing? A widget is a piece of reusable code that you can plug into virtually any website. A gadget acts just like a widget, often fulfilling the same purpose, but it is proprietary. It only works on a certain website or a specific set of websites.

For example, Google Gadgets can look and act like widgets. But they only work on Google pages.

A widget, on the other hand, works on any page that lets you add an HTML block. You can put them on your blog, or your personalized start page, or your personal website.

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