Google Toolbar Adds New Tools

    January 30, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Another beta version of Google’s Toolbar arrived on the company’s servers, just waiting for download and testing by its user base.

The fourth version of the search advertising company’s Google Toolbar contains, appropriately enough, four new features highlighted by Google on the download page. As with earlier versions, this one is a Windows-only install, for XP or 2000 running IE6.

Through the Toolbar, pages saved as bookmarks snuggle into a space on Google’s servers. This lets users signing in to Google on other machines with the Toolbar in place access those bookmarks.

Various navigation buttons to Google services can be added or removed from the Toolbar as the user likes. Users can drop a button for one-click access to Gmail or Google Video. Google also has some third-party buttons for sites like the New York Times available from its button gallery.

Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch noted how customizing buttons works with the new toolbar:

To create a custom button, simply visit a web site and right click on the site’s search box. A context menu appears with the option to “generate custom search;” select this option then give a name and description to the button.

Custom buttons can also be tailored to display feeds, headlines or other dynamic information from a particular web site….Site owners can also create custom buttons for users.

Another feature lets users share a page they are visiting with others via Gmail, Blogger, or SMS. The SMS sharing could be an offshoot of Google’s deal with Opera, whose Opera Mini browser became available as a download that will work on virtually any mobile phone.

Opera shows Google as the default search in its PC and mobile browsers, courtesy of a deal with Google that allowed Opera to remove advertising from its free browser download. Opera Mini lets mobile users view web pages as they appear online, on the user’s mobile device.

The Instant Suggestions feature will look familiar to anyone who has used Google Suggest. That service has shown an ability to surprise its users with its suggestions, a trait that continues with the tool bar as Aaron Wall of Threadwatch observed:

It looks like they are trying to kill off the misspelled keyword market, but I am not sure of what I think of the new spell suggest feature, especially when combined with search suggest.

Lets say young Timmy, a second grader, is trying to use Google to remember how to spell Jenna. Google rewards his correct spelling by suggesting that he view a couple pornstar websites (as the top couple most frequently searched for Jenna results are pornstar names).

Perhaps Google will consider SafeSearch options for a future release of the Toolbar, even with SafeSearch’s imperfections.

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