MacMost Now 4: Google Gadgets

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at Google Gadgets new compatibility with Mac Dashboard Widgets.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost.com. This week google announced that google gadgets will be available for dashboard on Mac Os X Leopard. What google gadgets are is the same thing, basically, as dashboard widgets. They're little tiny web pages using mostly java scripts to create functionality. You are probably familiar with dashboard widgets, Google gadgets is kind of the same thing only on web pages until now. Now, you can take google gadgets and bring them into dashboard. Let's take a look. The place you need to go is desktop.google.com/mac. Once you go there, then you can install the google desktop. What the google desktop is is actually a whole bunch of different stuff mostly involving search. It'll help you search things on your drive or search your mail or search the web. Basically combining google search and spotlight. I like spotlight so I don't want to use google desktop in that way. So, I click here where it says choose your own favorites and deselect fast and easy search and just get gadgets for your dashboard and then I can go ahead and install. I'll download an applications and then I have to run it as an installer. Installation will take a while but then if you look in your applications folder under google desktop you will find the google gadgets application. You will also find google desktop if you installed that too. Let's run google gadgets and see what we get. Here's what happens when you run the application: You come up with google gadget list which allows you to install gadgets in your dashboard. And there's all sorts of categories to the left including popular. You can see that there's 499 gadgets now in popular so there's a lot of gadgets available. And you can search by category and it will bring them up. You can look at some useful tools like clocks and calculators of all sorts. There is a lot of games. There's lots of different bits of information, a lot of geeky stuff actually. You can browse through it and you can also search through it. So say if you want the map related gadgets, you can get all the maps like that. So, it's very quick and easy and you just basically click on one that you like and click the add button. And it will add it then to the dashboard. Now here's what we get. We get three new google gadgets that I added, one is a stock ticker indicator, another is a simple espn rss reader and there is the location of the Hubbell telescope as well. Nothing too special, nothing we couldn't get through regular dashboard widgets. This is where I think we might be in trouble here. There's really nothing special you can do with google gadgets that you couldn't do with dashboard widgets. Then it would make sense for developers to basically develop only google gadgets. And then know that you can add them to your apple dashboard through this functionality but it's a little bit harder. You have to install this google application, google gadget application, and not everybody is going to have that. Developers might see it as one way to develop applications that would run both places. But it may end up with less apple dashboard widgets in favor of more google gadgets. And if they don't do anything special I would rather have the native Apple dashboard widgets myself. Another issue is really these things don't add much value I mean you can do just about anything you can do on a gadget or widget I mean really anything you can do just by going to a web page through some bookmarks. So, I don't really see too much value in adding tons and tons of these. I mean a calculator, sure, a dictionary, sure, maybe a cluttered google dashboard is going to be difficult to navigate that a simple set of bookmarks or tool marks in your web browser. Another thing we've got going on is safari in library you've got this thing called clippings. So you can basically go to a page like this yahoo finance page and click here in the clippings thing. And go ahead and select an area of a webpage like the top stories here in Yahoo finance. Double click on that and now it will basically add itself as a dashboard widget so you can make your own dashboard widgets. See, look at that, it's just like some programmer made it. It's just beautiful. You have options for frames and all sorts of things. So there's so many ways to add gadgets and widgets that well I don't know if we actually need one more. I want to take a second to thank everyone for writing me and leaving comments. Thanks for the encouragement and also thanks for more questions. You can email me at questions (-at-) macmost.com. What I'm going to do with these questions is I'm going to try to answer them. So email me and see what I come up with so until next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 4: Google Gadgets”

    Yotam Vaknin
    12/5/07 @ 1:19 am

    dont you think that a cross platform widgets is a better way to write those?
    i think it should be part of the OS.

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