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.
Or is it Let’s push the market share of Chrome by killing our features on competing products?