Verizon is getting on the social networking bandwagon with today’s announcement about the launch of two new services – the Widget Bazaar applications store and Internet Video on TV. 

Verizon said it has worked with social media companies such as Facebook Connect, Twitter, ESPN, Veoh, and to create a converged Internet-to-television experience that lets FiOS TV subscribers connect with others while watching TV, plus search and view a variety of online, personal PC-based videos on their television screens.

"With FiOS, passive TV becomes social TV, part of the sweeping cultural shift that's changing how people connect with one another to share ideas, information and entertainment," said Shawn Strickland, vice president of marketing for Verizon Telecom.  "We're working with some of the most popular companies on the Web to create the foundation for a high-quality, engaging Internet-to-TV experience that will only expand and grow richer."

The new Widget Bazaar applications marketplace, located within FiOS TV's Interactive Media Guide, is launching with free Facebook, Twitter and ESPN Fantasy Football widgets.

Through the Twitter Widget, FiOS TV subscribers can follow “tweets” related specifically to the program, movie or sporting event they are watching, bringing a new level of community and interactivity to watching TV. 

Verizon said it plans an open development platform to permit developers to write interactive FiOS TV applications that will be available through the Widget Bazaar.

Verizon also recently announced that its FiOS video and Internet services are now available in the California communities of Fontana and Ranch Cucamonga.

Verizon said its services will reach nearly 10,000 homes and businesses in the two areas. In California, Verizon's FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services are now available to more than 1 million households in 85 communities throughout San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties.

More Broadband Direct 07/15/09:
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•  Cablevision excels in customer satisfaction
•  Verizon bows social networking service
•  Insight Communications announces executive appointments
•  Virgin Media completes DOCSIS 3.0 upgrade
•  American Cable Association backs Local Television Freedom Act
•  FCC orders review of international broadband usage
•  Vermont says FairPoint hasn't addressed problems
•  Intel's strong numbers suggest PC business on mend
•  Broadband Briefs for 07/15/09