If I'm not mistaken, Verizon is the first to bring Twitter to your TV—Microsoft and Vizio have promised it—when their Widget Bazaar starts rolling out to FiOS customers tonight. (Update: I'm mistaken.) Why do I like it better?
It's actually more useful than just painstakingly banging out 140 characters on your remote—which you can't do, incidentally, since 1.0 of the app is "read only"—using the metadata from the guide, the Twitter app will show you tweets about whatever you're watching. That's right, see people hate on A-Rod in real time while you watch the Yankees game. It uses search, rather than hashtags, to power the feed. You can also check out the standard trending topics, though you can't see what your friends up are up to—it's just the community-oriented stuff for now, so it's Twitter as pulse checker, rather than Twitter (that's coming later). Reinforcing that is the fact that the channel you're watching never goes away—it's a vertical ticker setup, essentially.
Facebook is also consume-only in this version, with the exception of being able to update your status with what you're watching. You can scope out your friends' status updates, photos and that kind of thing. The major drawback is that it only supports one profile per FiOS box, though multiple profile support's coming.
The local and streaming and internet video stuff I saw a year ago is hitting later this month, with the exception of YouTube—you'll get DailyMotion, Veoh and blip.tv. Don't hold your breath for Hulu or Netflix though, since Verizon's got their own on demand stuff they want you to watch (and they think internet video is crappier video quality). Where they see themselves, essentially, is bringing internet stuff to TV for people who don't want to go out and buy an Apple TV or Roku box. No word about that Slingbox streaming feature, though.
While Twitter and Facebook are among the first handful of widgets for the Widget Bazaar, growth won't be explosive—six months into the program, expect only around 40 widgets, since Verizon's not planning for a "wide open" development community. The other major update is under the hood—an architectural change that will let them update widgets and content constantly, whereas before, they were stuck pushing updates only a few times a year. (It actually sounds pretty similar to the New Xbox Experience, in that a lot of the stuff will be in the cloud and sent on demand, not sitting on your box.) A brand new use interface is coming over the next year as well, but it'll be rolled out gradually.
So perhaps not so coincidentally, Verizon's FiOS should be getting a lot more interesting around the same time cable's offerings will be. [Verizon]