Months after Yahoo released a toolbar designed specifically for the Mozilla Firefox browser, Google has followed suit.
The beta version of the toolbar was released today. The Internet Explorer version of the search engine company’s toolbar has been out for four years. This is the first software product Google has released that is exclusive to Firefox.
“It’s been long awaited,” said Gary Price, editor of Search Engine Watch. Although Google and other search engines don’t release figures on how many searches are done through toolbars, Price told TechNewsWorld that “from my own experience, when I do training sessions, a lot of people use it.”
The toolbar has spell check, autolink, autofill and translation functions as well as the ability to search. Autolink creates links to online maps from street addresses in the United States. Autofill automatically finishes information such as name and shipping address to make filling out forms used in online shopping easier. Users can also ask the toolbar to translate English words into other languages.
The advantage for Google is visibility.
“They’ve gotten some real estate on the browser,” Price said. “By being one of the first ones to do that [with the IE toolbar] they were there and it’s hard for people to take a look at anyone else. It reinforces the brand every time you open the browser.”
Send to Phone
Along with the toolbar functions, Google Labs released a send to phone feature, which allows users to copy Web page content and send it as a text message to a mobile phone. Google Suggest remembers earlier search terms and suggests complete words as users type. Both of these extensions have to be downloaded separately.
Yahoo already has a feature that allows users to forward results from Yahoo Local and Yahoo Map searches to their mobile phones. The company had released its Firefox toolbar in February.
The toolbar does not include a popup blocker, because Firefox has one built in.
The software is compatible with Windows 2000 and XP, Mac OS X 10.2 and Red Hat Linux 8.0 or above.
Before Google released its own toolbar, Firefox users had the option of downloading Googlebar, from the Mozilla software development community. Googlebar also supports Netscape 7.0.