Last week I noted that Google Desktop had finally become available for Mac users (in a limited version). I got an email from the Yahoo! Widgets team letting me know that their widgets were also available in Mac form and asked if I’d give them a look-see.
The first thing I noticed was that the familiar glassy, beautiful graphics that have been impressing users since the Konfabulator days haven’t changed. I’m so glad this gorgeous display continues to be a priority. I know I’ve chosen not to use several widgets because I just don’t want to junk up a beautiful work space (even when I ran Windows I used a customized theme) with ugly add-ons.
I had been told, in the email, that Y! Widgets now had a sidebar dock, so I was expecting this to be there, but I didn’t realize how attractive it would be, as compared with other widget docks. The Google sidebar dock is not nearly as pretty, even though I have to give them kudos on UI improvement since the first iteration.
I like to keep all my widgets hidden, save the 30 Boxes widget and the Sort It desktop file cabinet, and just keep my eyes on the sidebar when I want to see the weather, CPU performance or battery. This dock is very helpful in that way, as most of the widgets are still of use in the dock. Some of the older widgets are not helpful in that way though, and must remain open and visible to be of value. That’s annoying, but it’s the widget creators that bear that burden and not the engine developers, so I can’t complain.
The install process has been simplified as well, especially if you get your widgets directly from the Widgets.yahoo.com site. The savvy-bar is lowered a bit by the fact that you can literally click a button on the web site to install to your machine.
I’m sure you’ll notice these are the screens of different widgets installing, however, you get the idea of how it works.
Note that widget authors who do not want to grab the entire install can just grab the widget file by clicking the ‘Get It Here’ link below the download button.
But, what’s wrong with it? Not much, I have to admit, but it did crash my browser (twice) when I tried to install the 30Boxes widget. And, when I did finally get said widget installed, I had to enter the access key almost a dozen times before it decided to take it. Not sure if it was finicky, or thought I wasn’t web 2.0-cool-enough at first, but I suppose it saw that I did, indeed, have Flickr AND Twitter on my 30Boxes page and finally it approved my request. Yeah, it was a hassle, but it was the only widget that hurt. The rest were pain-free.
All of that aside, I would love to see a way that I could login and view which files I had downloaded. I suppose that would be an easy way to see if any of them had been updated (as the 30Boxes widget should be). And, if I were on another computer, then I could find the original files so that I could continue my Y! Widget bliss whether at home (or ::gasp:: at work where I really should be working).
There are also a few widgets that I noticed were gone and missed them (Chuck Norris Facts, why aren’t you Mac-able? (pun intended) However, I’m a Y! Widgets fan from way-back and this Mac release truly serves up sweetness, so I rate it highly. Congrats Widgets team, you are earning your keep in a major way!