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Welcome to a new world of widgets, Yahoo! Widgets 4

We've got the hot scoop on Yahoo spicy update to widgets; their newest release of Yahoo! Widgets 4. This version offers users and developers improved features and capabilities including a new Widget Dock, new and improved widgets, improved performance, streamlined installation, improved authoring tools and automatic updates.

I recently had the opportunity to load up this new version and take it for a test drive. The big differences noticed in this release are the Widget Dock, Improved performance, and some intuitive new widgets from the Yahoo team.

Check out some great screen shots after the jump...
The widget dock is a new feature that allows for a quick glance of the current widgets in an OSX style dock type environment [without the animation]. Users can hide the dock so valuable screen space is not taken up.

[widget dock]

Yahoo toned down the memory usage with this release by a supposed 40%, and decreased the actual installer size. Not like that matters for most for people who would normally use an application like this, but nonetheless it has been improved. Viewing the widgets on my system showed a considerable increased speed when refreshing, dragging, and activating them. I did run into a few slowdowns when connecting to outside sources from widgets, especially with the new Flickr widget.

[Flickr widget]

Flickr, now part of Yahoo, has teamed up with the Yahoo! Widgets 4 team to create a way to show your favorite Flickr photo streams right on you're desktop. Not only that, but the widget also connects you directly to your Flickr account so you can easily do drag and drop uploads as well as batch uploading, again without using a browser. As mentioned, this did slow down things a little for me, but is an extremely valuable feature of the new Widgets 4. The Yahoo! Picture Frame Widget allows users to view images that are stored in their Flickr or Yahoo image galleries either in mini format in the Widget dock, or with a picture frame placed on your desktop. It does get in the way, but its kind of a cute thing to have floating around a corner of a screen for some added color. That is if you don't already take up every square inch of your screen real estate with other applications like the DownloadSquad team already does.

Looking for more widgets is easy. No more entering a browser to search, simply connect to the widget gallery through a widget in the dock. There you will have access to tons [over 3800] of widgets in a number of different categories without leaving your desktop. Installing them is done by a newly designed in-page installer that loads them rather quickly from the gallery when chosen.

[Yahoo widget finder]

A number of the widgets have also been updated and streamlined with new features and little tweaks for a more improved user experience. Managing Yahoo's widgets are much easier as well, with a simple click of an icon in the dock users can adjust preferences and bring a widget to the front of the screen.

[Yahoo notepad, ties into your Yahoo account]

I don't use widgets and gadgets as much as I should. They are great applications that do save a ton of time, and I admit, look pretty on desktops. It looks like Yahoo! Widgets 4 might entice me to use them a little more. You can download the freshly released Yahoo! Widgets 4 installer for Yahoo here for Mac OSX and Windows PC users from the Yahoo Widget website.

Tags: dock, flickr, konfabulator, note, picture, widgets, yahoo, yahoo widgets 4, YahooWidgets4