We recommended Pokki — an interesting app launcher, widget, and productivity hybrid — back in December as one of the best programs to improve the Windows 7 experience. The app has just received a major update, making it better than ever. Pokki allows you to download and run different apps (like Gmail, Pandora, or Angry Birds) straight from the taskbar, and this update adds an apps menu, desktop notifications, and the ability to customize apps from the taskbar as well.
You can also customize the appearance of desktop notifications and badges that popup with unread items on the app's taskbar icon. In addition, the program has a handy app and notification center that lets you launch, organize, or install new apps, as well as review notifications in case you missed anything. The app is available for free, and according to TechCrunch, a beta of Pokki will be available for OS X before it enters development for Windows 8.