Widgets are tiny nice-looking programs that can do all sorts of interesting stuff ranging from the addition of a simple desktop clock or weather tool to a feature-rich video player. In many cases the purpose of a desktop widget is to bring functionality of the website (or at least part of it) right to your desktop. There are several platforms that can bring widgets to your PC, below I present to you some of the bigger and better ones.
Note: If you’re a Mac or Win. Vista user this is something you’re already familiar with, as both of these operating systems come with an inbuilt widget platform. Unless you’re interested in a slightly different alternative than feel free to skip everything from 1-5 and jump directly to 6.
(1) Yahoo Widgets (Win, Mac)
Yahoo Widgets comes with the biggest widget gallery, featuring over 4000 custom user-contributed widgets. Widgets are nicely categorized, commented on and rated by users. We have already written about Yahoo Widgets here.
(2) Google Gadgets (Win, Mac, Linux)
Google gadgets is one of the goodies that comes with the Google Dektop software. Basically, these are the same gadgets that can be added to your personal Google Homepage (aka iGoogle). Check out full gadget gallery here (approx. 350 gadgets).
(3) Opera Widgets (Win, Mac, Linux)
(4) Adobe AIR (Win, Mac)
Adobe AIR (formerly ‘Apollo’) is a “cross-operating system runtime …” OR in simpler terms, a tool that can be used to run certain web services right on your desktop which results in a faster and much more interactive experience. For instance, once you install Adobe AIR you can run any Yourminis web widget right on your desktop. See some more examples here.
(5) Klipfolio (Win)
Klipfolio is a powerful personal dashboard and sidebar for windows users. It’s highly-customizable and counts over 4000 embeddable widgets (aka Klips). And unlike all other widgets, Klips are rather compact and tiny in size. Thus, Klipfolio can accommodate lots more Klips on its sidebar than any other widget sidebar.
(6) AmnestyGenerator (extra for Mac OSX Dashboard / Win Vista Sidebar) - this isn’t a widget platform but a really handy utility that can grab any web embeddable widget (i.e. for blogs, Myspace) and convert it to work on Vista Sidebar or Mac Dashboard.