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Google Tweaks Toolbar, Debuts Enterprise Version

Google has streamlined its Toolbar and rolled out a new product, Toolbar for Enterprise, tailored to the corporate environment. Both versions, which are still in beta, give users new options to customize their search.

The added features include customizable buttons, online bookmarks, new sharing capabilities and an open application program interface (API). In addition to these extras, the Google Toolbar for Enterprise beta provides a group policy for administrative control of features and a Microsoft System Installer for corporate deployment.

One-Click Customizations

Both products are rely heavily on one main new feature: Custom Buttons let users run search queries from any Web site, receive alerts and subscribe to feeds from their toolbar.

Google gives users three different ways to access this feature: They can create their own custom button by right-clicking on the search box on any Web site and selecting “Generate Custom Search”; they can install a Toolbar button offered on a third-party Web site; or they can select “Custom Button” from among the ready made buttons on Google’s new “Button Gallery.”

Other buttons in the gallery include linkages to popular Web sites. Google said more third-party Custom Buttons will appear as they are created through the new XML API tool available for content publishers.

The Toolbar betas also give users new ways to create, label and manage bookmarks: By saving them to a Google Account, a user can access his or her favorite bookmarks from any computer.

Paradigm Creator

As night follows day, it is likely that Yahoo and the other major search engines will follow Google. Many of the new functions, however, are design-based and don’t represent any new breakthroughs in search. Given that it’s Google, however, most firms are likely to react by attempting to duplicate even the smallest tweaks.

“Google is what you would call a paradigm creator,” Ben Shectman, User Experience Architect for BusinessEdge Solutions, told TechNewsWorld. “It sets trends in interaction design that the community will follow.”

New Ways to Query

Google Toolbar has also deepened its search functionality, providing tools that offer query suggestions to users and make spelling corrections as they type in the search box.

Users can also more easily send Web pages via gmail and SMS or from a blog by clicking on another new button, “Send To.”

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