Gadgets or widgets are those cute little icons that appear on our desktops when we turn our computers on. Gadgets were first introduced by Microsoft in 2007 when the company first incorporated them in its release of Vista and again later when it introduced its Windows 7 software. These gadgets are meant to be helpful and to provide you with information about the current weather conditions, the time, or news in your area. While Microsoft refers to these icons as gadgets, other companies, like Yahoo! or Apple, refer to them as widgets, which basically describes an application that appears on one’s desktop.
I must admit that, at the time Microsoft originally introduced the gadget feature, I liked the idea that they were enabled, by default, within the pre-installed Vista operating system. I was further impressed with the vast assortment of different gadgets that Microsoft had made available for the consumer. I know that, when I scrounged through the list of the many options, I found some useful and others not so much. Eventually, I selected three gadgets that I personally liked enough to use and carry over when I later upgraded my computer system to Windows 7.
However, Microsoft now contends that these gadgets are a security problem and have advised all users to dump the gadgets. From what the company tells us, it now appears that these gadgets, when enabled, present a security issue that can expose your Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system to corruption by outside forces. To assist the user in disabling the gadget portion of the software, Microsoft has set up an advisory site as well as a link to Microsoft Fix it automatically, which will disable gadgets and the sidebar.
However, I would like to make a personal, unsubstantiated observation that I made after reading this article. My feeling — and, again, I am not 100% positive of this — is that Microsoft is looking for an excuse to eliminate gadget development and is simply using the security issue as an excuse to mollify consumers who may be upset by this decision. On the corporate side, however, I must admit that I can see that there is not a lot of money to be made on gadgets. On the other hand, there is a boatload of cash awaiting the company and its developers in the creation and deployment of application software.
While these are my own personal thoughts on Microsoft’s intentions, I base my assumptions on the fact that, when I first bought my first laptop that came pre-installed with Vista, the assortment of gadgets was noteworthy. So, while I do not know the exact number, I seem to recall that at the time there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 gadgets available. However, by the time I replaced that system and bought a new laptop that came pre-installed with Windows 7, the number of available gadget choices had shrunken considerably. From that, I believe one can conclude that, by the time Microsoft released its Windows 7 operating system, it had already decided to eliminate gadgets from its development department. This appears to have now been achieved since it did not include any gadget options within its new Windows 8 operating system package.
With that being said, since there is no longer any support for gadgets within the company, it makes sense that Microsoft would attempt to convince the consumer that security issues were the real issue and encourage them to dump them as soon as possible.
Just my two cents.