USA Today's widgets can be added to a user's personal page, blog or social networking profile and display updates from the paper, while also generating ad revenue. Right now, the three they have all deal with travel -- updates on travel deals, airport and air travel news, and travel stories. But more are due soon, with news about pop culture, top headlines and celebrities.
The Post's widget lets users review media coverage and opinion writing on the presidential candidates and the major issues of the '08 campaign.
As The Editors Weblog notes, these easy-to-implement tools can be readily monetized (although USA Today's spokeswoman said no advertisers had signed up yet). Plus, they're good for building the brand.
"We're measuring how much traffic gets driven back to our site, but that's not the only metric," said Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com. "Having a cool widget on Facebook is a good thing for us, because it uses a small space to show off a feature that says you can get valuable info from washingtonpost.com."