I have been using the Google Toolbar in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 for a few months now without issues, however, it does come with a caveat. Since Google has officially said that support for Google Toolbar is only available through Firefox 4, Firefox automatically disables the add-on on Firefox 5 and Firefox 5.
In order to enable the Google Toolbar in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 you will first have to install the Add-on compatibility reporter extension in Firefox and restart the browser.
Once you have done that head over to the “Add-ons” and you will be able to run Google Toolbar in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6. Firefox will still report that the add-on is incompatible with the newer versions, however, you can continue using it without issues. If you need more help with this read our earlier guide on How To Run Older Add-ons in Firefox.
After a surge of updates on Google Plus, it looks like Google wants to do a little housecleaning.
Yesterday, Google announced that they are ending support for Labs because the company wants to focus their resources and efforts on existing products. Now Google has announced that they are ending support for Google Toolbar for Firefox 5 and future versions.
For Firefox users, many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox are now already built right into the browser. Therefore, while Google Toolbar for Firefox works on versions up to and including Firefox 4 only, it will not be supported on Firefox 5 and future versions.
I am not a power Google toolbar user and I uninstall it right away, whenever I see one. But there are a lot of people who regularly use the Google Toolbar in Firefox, because the toolbar provides handy shortcuts to Google services and provides easier sharing options. Google says that many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox, are already built right into the browser.
I beg to differ. Here is why:
1. There is no way to know the toolbar PR of a webpage in Firefox, unless you have Google Toolbar installed. I know there are a dozen SEO add-ons and third party sites for knowing the PageRank, but remember that none of them come shipped from the Google factory.
2. There is no way to perform a site specific search in Firefox, unless you know the site:domain.com operator.
3. The sharing options in Google Toolbar are super easy to use and supports almost any social networking site on earth. I agree there are a lot of Firefox add-ons for social sharing but they are not complete and are speed and performance hogs.
Other Toolbar features such as Gmail notifications, page translations and auto fill options are also close to dead. Firefox users who previously enjoyed using Google Toolbar, have to use a different add-on for each of them.
Being a Google Chrome user, I am a bit surprised on Google’s decision to phase out Google Toolbar for Firefox 5 and future versions. How are they going to track user behavior, site speed and other usability tests for Firefox users? Being a data driven company, why do they no longer want the data? A major portion of the Internet population still uses Firefox, I hope Google is well aware of that.
Google has recently released a new version of Google toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Google Toolbar 7 making your web browsing faster, simpler and instant.
The newer UI of Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer and Firefox is sleek and hides all the options under a drop down menu, as shown in the following screenshot
Enabling Instant Search In Google Toolbar 7
After you have downloaded and installed Google Toolbar 7, you will be first asked to choose your default search provider. You may either choose Bing or Google as your default search engine, hit OKand restart the browser for the changes to take effect.
To enable Instant search in Internet Explorer 9, go to the toolbar options panel by clicking the tiny wrench icon at the top right of Google Toolbar and choose Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing
Once you have turned on Instant search for Internet Explorer 9, you can preview search results on Google.com by typing the keywords on the Google search box of Google Toolbar.
Since I am a regular Google Chrome user, I confused this with the address bar of Internet Explorer only to find out that I have to type the same words in the Google search box of Google toolbar (and not in the address bar of Internet Explorer 9). You can also type Alt+G to get to the Toolbar search box more quickly.
Here is how the Instant search interface of Google toolbar looks like
To clear your search terms, hit the Escapekey on your keyboard and the search box will be highlighted, waiting for you to type the new keywords you want to search for.
With this new update, Google wants to push their instant search features deeper and let IE users get the feel of “Instant” search without having to use Google Chrome at all.
Many features in Google Toolbar send anonymous usage information to Google, in order to improve your browsing experience.
If you’re concerned about the privacy of your system and don’t want to share anonymous usage data with Google, you can turn off specific privacy features from the preferences panel
Other features are quite the same as before, it’s just that Google has revamped the overall look and feel of Google toolbar by removing unnecessary UI clutter of buttons and icons from the toolbar panel. To customize which buttons and options appear in the toolbar panel, click the wrenchicon, go to Custom buttonsand choose the buttons you want to see in the toolbar area.
Overall, the new Google Toolbar adds a hint of Google Chrome in Internet Explorer 9. While I continue to use Google Chrome as my default browser, those who want Google’s Instant search feature on Internet explorer, can try the improved Google toolbar 7 here. The following video gives a short introduction of what Google toolbar 7 is all about:
IE8 users have been reporting that they are no longer able to see the New Tab page which displays most visited sites and other options whenever a new tab is opened. If you have been wondering that something has gone wrong, don’t panic, it is a deliberate decision by Google to adhere to new IE add-on guidelines and requirements posted by Microsoft, which can be viewed here.
IE8 users will no longer be able to view the new tab page which was added by Google Toolbar since Microsoft’s add-on guidelines clearly state that add-ons cannot make any changes to the tabs or address bar. Here is a snippet from the guidelines page (some emphasis added by me):
Removing and/or replacing Internet Explorer features
Software must not remove or replace any Internet Explorer features by disabling or limiting access to the feature user interface in Internet Explorer.
This includes, but is not limited to, replacing features such as the Internet Explorer address bar, search box, new tab page and favorites center.
As you can see, Microsoft clearly limits add-ons from making any change to the address bar, search box, new tab page and favorites center.
The new changes in Google Toolbar basically removes the new tab page because of this restriction. If you are a user who misses this feature, you are urged to use Firefox or Google Chrome.
I am a very light IE user, however, I find the new tab feature in Google Chrome and Firefox pretty useful, since it allows me to quickly open a frequently visited sites without having to use the bookmarks or having to type in the URL. A similar feature can also be found in Opera, however in Opera it is called Speed Dial, and users have to manually add the pages to the Speed Dial.
Considering that IE’s user base is constantly declining, limiting add-ons from adding more features is definitely a bad move, considering how popular the feature has been. So would you switch from IE7 or IE8 to Firefox or Chrome to make use of this feature? Do let me know.
You are probably aware of Google Sidewiki Google’s web annotation service, which allows users of Google Toolbar to leave comments on any website. Google wasn’t the first web annotation service, but by virtue of the popularity of the Google Toolbar, it almost instantly became the most popular one.
A web annotation startup called Reframe It is now claiming that Google Sidewiki is a blatant plagiarisation of their own web annotation tool. Reframe It alleges that, the similarities are too many and too close to be coincidental.
Reframe It and Google Sidewiki aren’t the only annotation tools in the market. Wikipedia lists about a dozen web annotation tools. However, what makes Reframe It CEO and co-founder Bobby Fishkin uncomfortable is that The interface, the layout, the look and feel, look extremely similar.
Google Watch has an in-depth side by side comparison of Reframe It and Google Sidewiki. The similarities are uncanny to say the least. Reframe It’s intellectual property patent application is currently pending. If accepted, Google could end up in some major trouble for intellectual property theft. Since, the patent hasn’t yet been accepted, Reframe It also has the opportunity to adjust their patent application and include additional aspects to cover Google’s alleged transgressions. Reframe It can also sue Google for copyright violations, in which case Google will have to prove that their source code is drastically different from Reframe It’s.
According to Bobby Fishkin, apart from the obvious similarities between the two products, there were other incidents which solidified his suspicion. More than a year ago, Reframe It advisory board member Terry Winograd met with a senior Google Executive and encouraged him/her to take a look at Reframe It. Impressed with what he/she saw, the executive promised to pass it along to the team. A few months later, at least half a dozen Google employees signed up with Reframe It. Not only that, two days before launching Sidewiki, Google tried to hire Reframe It co-founder and Lead Engineer Ben Taitelbaum.
Google it yet to issue a direct response to the allegations. Instead this is what they told eWeek:
“The variety of existing products in this space and the increasing number of sites that enable user generated content shows that there is growing demand for allowing users to contribute to the Web. We are very excited by users’ response to Sidewiki and will continue to use their feedback to iterate more on the product.”
It is not uncommon for developers to be inspired by competitor’s product. In fact this is what drives genuine innovation. However, the question that needs to be asked here is how much is too much? What do you think? Is Google Sidewiki a rip-off? If it is indeed a rip-off, is it serious enough to be considered a copyright violation and (potential) IP theft?
The latest version of Google toolbar supports inline translation of a webpage in multiple languages. This is good news for all those who want to read a webpage in their preferred language.
Inline language translation in Google toolbar
So how does the inline translation work? It is as simple as selecting your preferred language from the drop down list and clicking the translate button. When you are reading a webpage, Google toolbar can automatically detect it’s language. Just select the language you want to translate the page into and it’s done.
Above is the translated version of a page translated using Google toolbar. The url of the resulting page does not change, unlike the one translated using Google language translation gadget. Also, Google Toolbar can remember your chosen language preferences and the next time you visit a page, it can auto-suggest the language conversion. Currently it supports 40 international languages.
Other new features
High quality website suggestions : As you type your query in the Google search box, Google toolbar shows you website suggestions and links. If the website link is present in your Google bookmarks or browsing history then clicking those links takes you directly to the home page of the query. If the link is not present in your browsing history and bookmarks then you are taken to the search result page of the query.
Google Sidewiki : The new Google Toolbar allows users to add annotations and comments alongside any webpage they are viewing. Using an arrow icon from the sidebar users can add their views, likes and links about the webpage.
Private browsing supported : As Firefox 3.5 introduced private browsing mode, Google Toolbar will not override this and all your web history, pagerank and Sidewiki data will be hidden when you are surfing in private browsing mode.
The biggest feature that is missing from Google Chrome is the non-availability of Google Toolbar, many users use it for several reasons, like finding page rank, quickly bookmarking to their Google Bookmarks account and so on.
However there are quite a few Google Chrome Extensions available now, however we researched and discovered one that will bring at-least some of the features of Google Toolbar to Google Chrome.
The goleet extension for Chrome adds in several features from Google Toolbar to Chrome, the extension basically packs in these features.
Access to your Gmail account (unread emails, one click opening).
The current version of the release is 0.2, however we dug through the notes and saw that the developer was working on version 0.3 which has added features, he has also checked in the sources into the repository and added it to the trunk, however version 0.3 is not yet available as a extension.
This version has several features that were introduced in the version for IE, including a enhanced Autofill where you can create multiple form fill profiles. This feature is definitely useful if you want to create separate delivery addresses for home and office.
Sometime back we had introduced you to few bookmarklets that bring in features from Firefox add-ons into Google Chrome, to add to that here are few more bookmarklets that will let you add Google Toolbar features into Google Chrome.
To install these bookmarklets, drag the URLs and drop it in your bookmarks bar.