Firefox Gets Personal With Google Toolbar

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New features made available with version 2 of the Google Toolbar for Firefox provide users with the ability to easily integrate newly discovered feeds into the Google Personalized Homepage or other feed readers.

Firefox Gets Personal With Google Toolbar
Google’s Toolbar Personalizes Firefox

The beta version of the Google Toolbar for Firefox may be found for users on the Windows, Mac, or Linux platforms.

Software engineer Justin Voskuhl posted about the latest and greatest from the Toolbar v2 at the Google Blog recently. The features he described indicate a much tighter integration between Google and the Firefox browser.

For example, with the Toolbar v2 installed, a user who signs in to Gmail will see a popup message with this text:

It looks like you’re using Gmail. The Google Toolbar can set Gmail to be your default program for sending mail. Would you like Gmail to open automatically whenever you click on an email link?

“We’ve made searching better by including previous queries, spelling corrections, and suggestions for popular choices,” Voskuhl wrote. And to help combat the growing problem of phishing, the Toolbar v2 now includes the Safe Browsing extension by default.

One option listed with the new features gives the Firefox user control over the layout of Firefox and the Toolbar. With the default layout, the Firefox search box appears in the top right corner while a Google search box displays in the Toolbar.

Users can change the layout to replace the Firefox search box with Google’s. Since a lot of Firefox users tend to have options for multiple search engines available for the Firefox search box, that option may not have broad appeal to Firefox’s userbase.

The feed recognition in Toolbar v2 should make it easier to identify a feed and place it in the user’s feed reader of choice. When the Subscribe button becomes live in Toolbar v2 after auto-discovering a feed, the user can add that feed to Google Home, Firefox Live Bookmarks, or other feed reading choices like My Yahoo or Pluck.

Choosing an option returns a confirmation page, depending on the reader option the user has set in the preferences for subscriptions. Google Home automatically places the newly added feed at the top left of the content, and that can be moved around the page as desired.

Internet Explorer users will note that the feature sets available for their version of the Google Toolbar don’t match those of Firefox. The only new feature available on both is the enhanced search box; none of the new features described previously can be found on the IE version.

“That’s because Firefox and IE users have different needs,” said Voskuhl. “Rest assured that we’re working to get the most popular features in both versions.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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