There have always been small computer programs that perform very specialized and tasks that can be integrated into various computer operating systems. These have largely been available for download over the Internet as freeware or shareware. Programs like these are still available, but now they’re called “gadgets.” The term gadget applies well to these small programs. After all, a physical gadget that you can hold in your hand is often something uncomplicated but extremely useful- just like these software gadgets. Now programs that are called gadgets are available for integration into tool bars in Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system. There are also similar programs (though they’re not called gadgets) that can be added to tool bars in the Gnome desktop for Linux.

The idea of software gadgets has also expanded to the Internet with a variety of gadget type applications that can be embedded in web pages. These gadgets are primarily offered by Microsoft and Google free of charge and have a huge variety of applications.

Google’s selection of web page gadgets in particular are really impressive. For example, you can get gadgets that provide a word of the day- in several different languages including Japanese- for the visitors to your web site. You can also get things like pictures of the day, and quotes of the day. You can also give your visitors the option playing videos from Google’s enormous library of online videos. Chess tournaments calendar

If you’re into music, Google has plenty of applications that can help you communicate your passion. Things like cord finders for guitars and other instruments will go a long way to provide your visitors with instructions on how to play your music. You can also integrate gadgets that play audio files into your page.

If you expect to have visitors who speed different languages visiting your site, you can build a Babelfish gadget into your page to help make it more accessible to more people. You can also get an international presence with access to web cams from around the world.

There are plenty of other conveniences that you can provide for your visitors. For example, you can embed a calculator from Google into your web page. You could also choose to put various calendars and clocks on your website in order to help your visitors keep track of things. This could be particularly useful for visitors who want to buy something from you or schedule an appointment with you. You can also embed chat programs that will let people text you or each other through your website. These programs include Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, and of course Google Chat.

Google also provides plenty of gadgets that are just plain fun. There are games like Mahjong, Asteroids, Chess, a simple version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac Man, Connect Four, and many others. You can also get random quotes from the President, access to your Horoscope, a slang translator, daily pictures of things like cars, satellite tracking, and the ability to search for YouTube videos, and a lot more.