Windows 7 has gadgets on the desktop, just like Vista. Or almost like Vista. If you are familiar with Vista gadgets, the main difference in Windows 7 is that there is no sidebar. A gadget is a kind of display gizmo that sits on your desktop. Here are some examples of Windows 7 gadgets:
* CPU Meter
* Picture Puzzle
* Windows Media
Just in case you get tired of wasting your time with the gadgets that ship with Windows 7, you can download more from Personalize your PC. Some of them, such as the clock or calendar, are useful. Others are a waste of time. But how useful are gadgets anyhow? It depends on how you use your desktop. If it is covered in layers of applications all day, you'll never see your desktop, and therefore you'll never see your gadgets.
In this case, some may be of marginal use when you first start your computer, and when you shut it down at the end of the day (assuming you clear the desktop before shutting down). Personally, I rarely see my desktop, so gadgets are not a big thing with me, although I like the idea of them. On the other hand, the could end up being a major distraction. For example, you could spend the day watching headlines and stock quotes. You could click the headlines and read the stories. Or you could just go to the appropriate websites when you feel the need to find out what's going on in the world or the trading room floor.
Also, the gadgets are somewhat limited in how you can configure them. For example, the headline gadget provides a list of Microsoft news feeds. That's fine if you happen to like the kind of news provided by Microsoft. But what if prefer headlines from other news services? Or you want RSS feeds from non-news services like your favorite blogs? Unfortunately, the headline gadget is not that flexible. In the end, Windows 7 gadgets are not flexible enough to be useful, and are hidden most of the time, unless you don't actually use your computer to do any work.