Yahoo has updated its free Widget software and touted the program's new automatic updating feature and its lighter appetite for RAM.

Widgets 4.0, which runs on Windows - including Vista - and Apple's Mac OS X, requires 40 percent less memory than before and automatically updates all widgets a user has previously downloaded when new versions are available, the company said.

The software now also includes a dock that shows widgets - those active on the desktop as well as all those downloaded - in a strip-like display, vaguely similar to the way Windows Vista shows Gadgets in its Sidebar. Also new are improved widget-making tools and something Yahoo dubbed Gallery Widget, which lets users locate and download any of the thousands of widgets without opening a browser.

Widgets on Mac OS X competes with Apple's own small applications by the same name and Microsoft's Gadgets. Yahoo acquired the software, previously known as Konfabulator, in a 2005 purchase of Pixoria.

The software is available for download from Yahoo's site.