In Win7, they got away with the sidebar and you can install your gadgets anywhere on the desktop. Problem is, that they are not "always on top" or they collide with the pages you pull up. There is an easy way to transplant the Vista sidebar to Win 7 (if you still have a Vista system around). I used this procesure, but I am sure there are others around.
Once you`re done, I suggest you put the shortcut of the newly aquired sidebar.exe on the desktop (get it from C: > Programs > Wndows Sidebar) and drag it into the startup folder (type SHELL:STARTUP into the start/search field and hit Enter). Else, you have to start the gadget manually after each reboot.
BTW: I am a big fan of the AppLauncher in the sidebar. If you cannot find it any more (seems to have disappeared from the web) I have uploaded the installation.exe here.