Both Macintosh Dashboard with their widgets and Google personalized home pages seem to be pointing in the same direction. There is a definite need for a centralized view of information that comes from different sources. In my previous post WiFi washers and driers I was talking about how all the home devices need to have a centralized software to control them, but obviously it's centralized only in the sense of being able to see it and control it from a unique place, the architecture is intrinsically distributed and it looks to me like the two approaches (Macintosh's and Google's) are totally covering this need. The schema is pretty similar, allow third parties to develop their widgets in one case and content components in the other and allow the user to have this unified space to see it all/control it all.
Macintosh dashboard does it with the typical graceful design, which is indeed pretty neat. Google on the other side, does it faithful to the web platform.
I believe Google has a wining hand because the platform will determine a greater and easier adoption, but there something in Google's personalized home pages that is not enough, too static maybe? I've been exploring flash in combination with web services in previous posts (Flash and Web services) and I think flash could give Google the best of two worlds staying in the web platform paradigm but at the same time allowing it to meet the design and interface requirements that today's world needs.