They might not yet promise to change the way you use your computer, but over the last year, widgets have become buzz-words in some circles.

Yahoo has launched a new version of its widget engine, the company's platform for running mini desktop applications built by Yahoo or third-party developers.

Along with the release of Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0, the company also unveiled nine new applications that run on the platform, which is available in a Windows and Mac version.

The engine is offered at no charge on the company's website.

The technology behind Yahoo Widget Engine stems from the portal's acquisition in July of Pixoria, which offered the Konfabulator widgets service to windows and mac users for $20.

Konfabulator was created by Mac enthusiasts who were so excited by the news that Apple would be creating a similar system for its latest operating system (10.3) that in the wait, they went out and created their own platform.

The nine new widgets all serve to promote Yahoo's services. They include the company's mapping service to search for addresses, and drag and scroll road maps, a picture frame for displaying photos from Yahoo's photo sharing services, an application for searching the Web and a variety of Yahoo services, and an alert for new messages in Yahoo webmail.