Google Now Reporting Number Of Users Per Gadget

Google Gadget: PacmanGot a Google Gadget? Google’s now reporting how many users make use of it, in addition to the pageviews figures it started posting earlier this year.

The new user stats can be found via Google’s Homepage Content Directory. There you’ll see gadgets that can be added to your iGoogle personalized homepage, with the number of users shown directly under the gadget’s name, as can be seen highlighted in the screenshot below:

Google Gadgets: User Stats

Click through to the gadget’s home page, and you’ll get both users and pageviews, such as shown below:

Google Gadgets: User & Pageview Stats

Users are the number of logged-in Google users making use of that gadget, when the user figure snapshot was taken (this is done twice per week, normally on Mondays and Thursdays, Google told me). This means there are actually more people than reported using a particular gadget, since cookies can make gadgets appear on the iGoogle personalized homepage even for users who are not logged in. In addition, gadget usage outside of Google itself is not counted.

Pageview figures continue to be reported on a weekly basis.

What’s the most popular gadget? Right now, you can’t tell easily based on pure user or pageview numbers (though for pageview popularity, Niall Kennedy did some crawling to come up with a customized list back in April). Selecting the Popular category, for example, does not sort gadgets there by most used or the ones with the most pageviews. Instead, sorting is currently done using an algorithm that ranks how often a gadget is added to Google personalized home pages in relation to its overall age and other factors.

This might change in the future, as Google is considering a revamp of the content directory, they told me.

By the way, while I’ve been talking about gadgets, the directory actually lists both gadgets (such as the PacMan game) as well as feed content (such as our own Search Engine Land feed module, shown below), which means you can get user figures even for feeds:

Feed As Google Gadget

Keep in mind that Google Reader reports subscriber figures for feeds. I think these are different (and probably higher) than the new gadget user figures being shown. I’m checking on this.

Thinking you need to be in that directory? Google provides a guide for developers here, or you can use one of the very basic gadget templates here, or take the easy option of opening an iGoogle account, then using the "Add by URL" link next to the Search Homepage Content button at the top of the content directory. At the moment, I believe that’s what gets you into the directory eventually (again, I’m checking on this).

Wondering if you’re already listed? Search for your exact feed URL, and that should bring up your module within the directory (here’s how it works for Search Engine Land).

Postscript: Some answers to follow-up questions:

We automatically add feeds once they cross a minimal popularity threshold, but right now do not have other mechanisms for adding feeds. The best way to get listed is to encourage people to add the feed to their page (through the "add to google" button, for example). There is a formal mechanism for submitting gadgets to the directory, available at

Re: subscriber numbers, you are correct. The counts listed in the iGoogle directory do not include Google Reader. Feedfetcher reports the sum of Google Reader and iGoogle subscriptions.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Gadgets | Google: iGoogle | Google: Reader


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Niall Kennedy

    Thanks for the mention. Some clarifications on the outstanding questions above.

    There are three basic types of Google Gadgets: Desktop, Universal, and Universal Syndicated. Some gadget content cannot be syndicated to Google Pages or any site accepting JavaScript across the web due to various issues such as stepping out of an iframe or using non-supported libraries inside your gadget.

    Gadget authors can submit a gadget for inclusion and agree to the Google ToS through the Google Gadget submission page. You’ll want to first install the Developer Gadget and check your output outside of a cached environment. You can always make your own Add to Google button without waiting for directory inclusion.

    I believe the numbers reported by Google Feedfetcher represent all “Fusion” subscribers, meaning both Reader and iGoogle.

  • Danny Sullivan

    I agree, Niall — Feedfetcher should be the combination of Google Reader and iGoogle subscribers. And I suspect that if you subtract the iGoogle “user” figure for a feed from the Feedfetcher reported number, then you are left with just Google Reader subscriber figures. That would be a nice breakdown, but I’m trying to get official confirmation of it.

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