Tutorial Thursday

Google Gadgets have been around for several years now and number in the thousands (more than 4,400 at the time of this writing). Windows Vista, on the other hand, is still pretty new and the selection of gadgets is slowly making progress with just over 1,100 currently available. There is a nifty little application called Amnesty Generator that will actually convert Google gadgets, Grazr RSS Readers, SpringWidgets, PicGames, and YouTube movies into gadgets that can be used in Vista.

The program that you need (download mirror) is about 4MB in size and will require installation. Once the setup process finishes you’ll be just a few steps away from putting Google gadgets on your Vista desktop (they also have a version available for Macs).

  1. Download and install Amnesty Generator (download mirror).
  2. You’ll need to pick a Google gadget from a list of the ones available to embed in a website. You can’t pick from ones that Google lets you put on your personalized homepage, but many of the same ones are listed on this site as well.
  3. Generate the code as if you were going to place the Google Gadget on your website. Now run the Amnesty Generator and insert the code into the box:
  4. After that the Vista Gadgets page should automatically open up so that you can select your newly created gadget.
  5. You can now drag it onto your desktop or onto the Vista sidebar:

I know it doesn’t look the best with unreadable fonts on the top and bottom, but that’s not the most important part of the gadget. The content of the gadget is what you’re looking for, and from what I’ve seen it always looks pretty good.

I originally thought this would be cool for the Google Talk gadget that was just released last week, but when I tried it I couldn’t get it to work. It needed me to sign-in and every time that I tried it would pull up Internet Explorer, sign me in, but it would never refresh itself so that it actually worked. That would have been one of the cooler gadgets that could have been used, too. :(

The Amnesty Generator is still a work in progress, and the Vista version is actually labeled as a Beta. The software itself seems stable, but I’m guessing that they will continue to refine how it converts the Google gadgets as well as widgets from other companies. Maybe in a few years this won’t even be necessary if companies start to follow what Netvibes has now started.