Yahoo's Widgets 4.5 (widgets.yahoo.com)is like the Wal-Mart of desktop doo-dads: A selection of over 4,000 widgets allows you to decorate your desktop with everything from CNN headlines to YouTube videos. It may not be as elegant as Apple's offering, but it easily beats out Vista's Gadgets. The only problem is that you can't take it with you.
Downloading and installing the 4K program took no more than three minutes. The black and gray widget dock must remain anchored to a side of your desktop, but it's aesthetically appealing (more so than Google's Desktop Gadgets) and can always remain on top of the screen.
Although we went overboard by adding 20 widgets to the dock, we didn't have to worry about running out of room since arrows let you scroll through your selections. A magnifying glass built into the dock launches a Yahoo search widget, which opens results in your browser. You can set a keyboard shortcut to bring all the widgets to a transparent full-screen mode immediately; hitting F8 allowed us to flip from our RSS feed to weather widgets and then to a document in Microsoft Word.
The More Content, the Merrier
In its fourth installment of the software, Yahoo has made it easier for developers to create widgets. The result is lots of unique offerings in the Yahoo Gallery, from the standard news and weather widgets, to The Office videos widget that plays clips from NBC's hit show right on your desktop. The iJam widget lets you play a small drum set on your desktop. The advanced search and reviews of each of the widgets makes picking the right ones for your dock easy.
Yahoo Widgets 4.5 Verdict
YW 4.5 is a simple way to add lots of cool tchotkes to your desktop. For a widget application not tied to an operating system, we would have liked to see a mobile sign-in ability that would allow users to access their collected widgets from the Web or other desktops. Still, not even Google has come up with such a feature.
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