Yahoo Updates Widget Platform

The fourth iteration features a new Widget Dock that can be hidden automatically and attached to any side or corner of the screen, even with multiple monitors.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

March 22, 2007

1 Min Read

Yahoo on Thursday introduced Widgets 4, an update to its desktop Widgets platform for Mac OS X and Windows.

The lineal descendants of Apple's Desktop Accessories, small programs you probably wouldn't have paid for, today's Widgets are more useful (thanks to their ability to access online data), more colorful, and more popular.

According to Newsweek, 2007 is the Year of the Widget. (It is also the Year of the Pig, International Polar Year, International Heliophysical Year, and Year of the Dolphin.)

Apple, Microsoft, and Google all offer Widgets. Microsoft used to call them "Active Desktop Items." Now, like Google, it calls them "Gadgets." Yahoo claims it offers the "only major cross-OS desktop Widget platform."

In addition to desktop Widgets, there are Web Widgets. As one might surmise, Web Widgets live and work in a Web browser. Desktop Widgets, though they may access the Internet, live on a computer's desktop.

Widgets 4 features a new Widget Dock that can be hidden automatically and attached to any side or corner of the screen, even with multiple monitors.

It also boasts a reduction in memory consumption of up to 40% and a better installation process that makes it easier for authors to promote their widgets.

A new Flickr Widget comes with the Widgets 4 release. It's designed to simplify the display, uploading, and tagging of photos. Widgets 4 also updates 21 widgets from an earlier release.

Best of all, there's a Widget for ... finding Widgets. The Yahoo Gallery Widget lets users search the Yahoo Widget Gallery, a collection of 4,300 widgets created and submitted by the Internet community.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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