Widgets are small, often Internet-connected mini-applications that live on your PC, gathering information, keeping you informed and entertaining you.
Widgets -- also called "gadgets," "objects," "desklets," "docklets" and other names -- can bring you TV, RSS feeds, clocks, weather data, financial information, sports scores, music libraries, real-time system information and a huge variety of other content.
The new generation of widgets and widget-engines emerged in 2000, pioneered by start-ups. The widget concept gained widespread attention with its inclusion in an early beta of Windows Vista and a shipping version of the Mac OS.
Widgets typically run on a proprietary "widget engine" application that must be installed and resident in memory. Most widget platforms offer Web sites where builders can upload and users can download free widgets.
Meet the widgets