You can currently see this in action in Blogger in Draft: rather than being prompted to "Add a new page element" to an area of your blog, you will see the link to "Add a Gadget" instead.
What's more, the pop-up box has been given a whole new makeover, with oversized icons to hint at the functionality of the gadgets on offer.
There are literally hundreds of Google Gadgets available to use in your Blogger layout. These are organized by category, though you can also use the integrated search function to easily locate the perfect widget for your needs.
So what new gadgets are available?
There are literally hundreds of gadgets available in each category, so I'll outline a few to illustrate the vast range of new features on offer:
BBC News Feeds: This tabbed widget allows you to display between 3 and 15 headlines in different categories.
New York Times Home and Garden: Another tabbed widget to feature news headlines from this unusual news source.
Calorie Calculator: An easy way to monitor your daily calorific intake.
Bandwidth Speed Test: I like this one! This will offer statistics of your broadband speed to check how effective your ISP really is!
TeleMessage SMS Sender: This is a great idea! Offer your readers a way to send SMS from your blog (including international numbers).
Messenger: MSN Live Hotmail, Messenger, Spaces and Search widget without ads.
Fun and Games
Pacman: Play the classic arcade game on your blog!
Simpsons Millionaire: Play a Simpsons themed version of the "Who wants to be a Millionaire game!
Stock Ticker: A live stock ticker with real time quotes from Yahoo! Finance.
Money Tip of the Day: Daily tips about finance and money matters.
Top 10 Digg Sports Stories: The ten most popular stories about sports as voted by Digg's users.
NFL Cheerleaders: Saucy photo's of NFL's hottest cheerleaders...
EPSN Tabbed Sports Feeds: A tabbed news widget from EPSN.com which is completely customizable to suit your needs.
Free Coupons Finder: Find free coupons, promotional codes, printable coupons, grocery coupons, restaurant coupons, coupon codes, and supermarket coupons.
The Bart Board: This is a fun widget indeed! Features Daily Phrases, Quotes, and Sayings that have appeared on Bart's famous chalk board.
Document to PDF: Easily convert documents to PDF.
How I Did - Weekly Video Tutorial: Explanatory videos of how to do stuff from experts.
Create your own Gadgets
You can even create your own Google Gadgets which will then be added to this directory for others to use. This would be a great way to attract some new readers to your blog with a useful gadget aimed at others in your niche subject.
You can learn more about creating your own Google Gadget on the main code page where you will find explanatory articles, examples and resources.
This is certainly something I will look into myself in the near future, with particular regard to useful applications for Bloggers. I would love to hear of any gadgets you create yourselves though and would consider a showcase of Blogger inspired gadgets here if enough people get involved in creating them.
Check out this new directory and gadgets for yourself!
At present, the unified gadget/widget directory is only available in Blogger in Draft, so if you're interested to try out some of these new features, log into your dashboard via http://draft.blogger.com, click on the Layouts tab and choose to add a new gadget.
I would imagine this new system will be fully incorporated into our main Blogger interfaces soon enough as I personally have found no problems or glitches with this new system.
Let me know what you think about the new gadgets directory (or particular gadgets you would like to use) by leaving your comments below.