Yahoo speeds Widgets with version 4

Yahoo says the mini-programs are now faster and fit into a dock. New to the lineup: a Flickr widget.

Yahoo on Thursday released what it said is a faster and less memory-hungry incarnation of its Widgets software that allows users to run small applications that appear on their desktops.

Widgets 4, now available for download for Windows or Mac OS X, also has a dock to keep the applications organized. The dock can be automatically hidden or can be attached to any side or corner of a user's monitor.

Flickr Widget
Credit: Yahoo
Yahoo's new Flickr Widget

The new version also includes better programming tools for those who want to write their own widgets, a gallery widget to look for new widgets without using a Web browser and automatic updates when widgets are upgraded.

Also new is a Flickr widget that lets users view, upload and tag their images at the Yahoo photo-sharing site. And Yahoo updated the 21 widgets installed with the earlier version of the software.

Yahoo Widgets competes with Apple's Widgets and Microsoft's Gadgets--and with precious screen real estate already crowded by regular programs.

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