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New Google Toolbar – Version 4

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Google is about to release a new version of its toolbar.

According to this features page, it will include:

  • Enhanced search box – will suggest spelling corrections, popular searches, bookmarks and search history as you type into it

  • Add custom buttons for favorite websites, or add one from the forthcoming button gallery

  • Bookmarks – remember when I broke the bookmarks in Google Search History? Here’s why they were important. Now you can get your bookmarks, tagged any which way you please, in your Google toolbar

  • Send To – send a web page via email, SMS or blog (no word if its Blogger, or other services)

  • Sign into your Google Account from the toolbar

More in the morning, when I get to play with it. Expect the download link to go active by then. There’s more in this Bloomberg article.

I’ve got a theory on why Google is releasing this at this point (assuming Google holds onto product releases until strategic times), but I am prevented by Non Disclosure Agreement from sharing, and I have to see how the toolbar interacts with other software to confirm my suspicions.

UPDATE: ZDNet says that there will also be an enterprise version of the the toolbar released with features for IT adminstrators. Good way to foster goodwill and make sure admins allow install of the toolbar on their systems, no?

UPDATE 2: The button gallery is live. Buttons are available for Slashdot, CBS Sportsline, CNET, MP3.com, among others. According to Search Engine Watch, site owners can create their own in under ten minutes. As for the Enterprise version, they say:

Separately, Google has also released a toolbar for the enterprise, that offers the ability to centrally deploy the toolbar, create group features, and create custom buttons specific to an enterprise’s own internal intranet or network.

UPDATE 3: It’s live! Installing now

UPDATE 4: Thoughts: The new Toolbar is 627k, 76k larger than Toolbar 3. When turning on the translation feature, you are warned that it has privacy implications. You might as well turn off the “Go” button, since it no longer has the handy drop down to choose different services. The drop down is now within the G logo inside the search box, which is efficient yet makes the “Go” a waste of space.

The toolbar comes with two buttons, News and Button Gallery. You can add site search, Images, Local, Groups or Froogle from the settings, and anything else from the Button Gallery. [you can also add "I'm Feeling Lucky", if you really like four-leaf clovers] The Google logo on the left hand side now takes you to Google, once again cutting out a handy drop-down menu.

I’ve turned off the “Send To” button, since it only works with Gmail and Blogger. Buttons I’ve added (click to add): Mood Ring and weather.

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

New Google Toolbar – Version 4
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