Google Toolbar 2.0
June 25, 2003 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Google Toolbar 2.0 I can't live without my Google toolbar for IE on the PC (Safari's built-in Google-search, while less functional, takes care of me on the Mac). This new version of the Google toolbar features popup blocking, autofill, and a "blog this" button. What other browser toolbars/gizmos make life easier for Joe Websurfer?
posted by jdroth (32 comments total)
 
I recommend Dave's Quick Search Deskbar.
posted by gd779 at 8:50 PM on June 25, 2003


I love Google toolbar, and for a while, it was the only thing keeping me on IE. Once the mozilla version came out I made the switch full time. The BlogThis button is interesting though, at least for those that use Blogger. This is really the first convergence between the two since Google bought Blogger that I'm aware of. I wonder what else will happen.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:02 PM on June 25, 2003


Nutshell!
posted by evilbeck at 9:04 PM on June 25, 2003


There's a whole bunch for Mozilla Firebird here, including a google-toolbar clone. The only ones I use are "nuke image", which adds a "remove this image" from the context-menu of images, letting you click an annoying image and remove it from the screen (and reflow the html as if it weren't there in the first place); "text links", which lets you right click plain-text urls and get the same menu that you get with an actual link (open, open in new tab, bookmark, etc); and "flash click to view", which gives me a button i have to click to load flash objects, instead of loading them automatically.
posted by duckstab at 9:07 PM on June 25, 2003


It still spyware. No thanks.

Google has this geek-friendly brand. Imagine if Gator offered the exact same widget, I would think there would be more than a few people screaming, "SPYWARE!!."

As of now, google can do no wrong.
posted by skallas at 9:18 PM on June 25, 2003


There are two differences between the Google toolbar, and regular day-in day-out spyware.

1) You have to opt in to their information collection scheme
2) The Google Toolbar is actually a useful widget to have on your computer.



...


Is anyone else having issues with the "Blog This" button? It doesn't seem to want to let me log in...
posted by Newbornstranger at 9:44 PM on June 25, 2003


Maybe so, skallas, but try actually stepping through the install process. Before you download anything, you'll see that Google warns "PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY, IT'S NOT THE USUAL YADA YADA" in big red letters, informs you of the privacy issue, and then offers a choice of downloading the toolbar with or without the "spyware" features.

This sort of attention to user concerns is exactly how Google earned its geek-friendly brand to begin with.

On preview, what Newbornstranger said.
posted by Fourmyle at 9:49 PM on June 25, 2003


Is anyone else having issues with the "Blog This" button? It doesn't seem to want to let me log in...

I can't log into Blogger manually right now. I'm guessing they're doing some stuff to make it more compliant with the toolbar. Either that or it's another. outage. due. to. errors.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:52 PM on June 25, 2003


It still spyware. No thanks.

Optional spyware, as has been noted. Even so, in this case I look at the (minimal) loss of privacy as a cost for something from which I derive great utility. The benefits I derive from the toolbar outweigh the negatives.

I don't like the textads at Metafilter, but they're not enough to stop me from reading the site. I don't like the banner ads at Yahoo!, but they're not enough to stop me from using the site.

I hate the popups at USAToday and RottenTomatoes; they're nearly enough to drive me away. Gator? Does it do anything for me? Then why would I possibly install it on my system, and how could I even begin to compare it to the Google Toolbar?

It's all a matter of balancing what you get with what you give. In the case of the Google Toolbar, I get more than I give.
posted by jdroth at 9:58 PM on June 25, 2003


I rather agree with you skallas, though I am currently willingly enslaved. Right now, the benefits outweigh my paranoia, and as others have mentioned, it is fairly benign as spyware goes. But I do think about it often - will a post-IPO Google be as benign when they have to please shareholders every quarter, for example? Is a Google IPO imminent? There is certainly a lot of speculation in many quarters.

However, right now I am mainlining Google every chance I get. If I ever have to go cold turkey, there will be hell to pay in withdrawal.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:01 PM on June 25, 2003


please, more utilities!
posted by UncleFes at 10:15 PM on June 25, 2003


FYI if you're looking for surfing shortcuts: Using Opera you can type "g whatever you're searching for" in the address bar (w/o the quotes) and it sends the search to Google, or "a whatever" for AllTheWeb, "e whatever" for eBay, "z whatever" for Amazon, etc.

Opera also has these cool "mouse gestures" you can use as navigation shortcuts. You can hold down the right mouse button and click the left one as many times as you like to go back a page at a time through your history (or hold down the left one and right-click to go forward).

I really love this browser. (It blocks pop-ups, too.)
posted by boredomjockey at 10:23 PM on June 25, 2003


Oh look: the context-sensitive textads are actually joining the discussion: "stop popup windows", "create your own IE toolbar", "take google with you", "alexa toolbar".

Heh.

Are the textads always this relevant?
posted by jdroth at 10:38 PM on June 25, 2003


all hale atomica.net, highlight a word, hold alt, click, it searches, translates, dices, and even purees. I also like how i can get a brief bio of political figures too.

download from PC world, contains other links too.
posted by sourbrew at 10:48 PM on June 25, 2003


>it is fairly benign as spyware goes.

Sure it is. All spyware/marketing data mining on the internet (and elsewhere but that's a story for another day) is a pretty big gamble. How many sites have folded and reneged on their privacy policy not to sell your information? More than a couple high-profile sites. I just read that Tivo is now selling zipcode specific information as opposed to more or less anonymous information. Why? They're hurting for dollars.

On principle, I and many others don't want any spyware on our machines. It makes life easier and there's almost always a free alternative. The browser I'm using right now (Mozilla Firebird) has a google search box built in. Sure it won't give me pagerank or the other google-only goodies, but it works great for me and I'm not taking any risks with spyware, nor am I being a hypocrite in regards to what I consider bad business practices.

As far as "earning the geek cred" argument goes, well so did Bill Gates as a lone "nerd" fighting the "suits" at IBM. My, how things have changed since.

Or who would have guessed Caldera Linux would become SCO and try to sue IBM for a billion dollars because linux might or might not contain some copywrited code. At the end of the day all these companies are just that: companies - machines that are supposed to make a profit. Build loyalty at your own risk.

The google IPO concerns me too mainly because google is so good at indexing and searching the web. Who even compares? And that's just web searching. They also more or less own the entire USENET archive and might soon be the first and last word in blogging.
posted by skallas at 11:18 PM on June 25, 2003


Opera also has these cool "mouse gestures"

Mozilla's got 'em too.
posted by jonson at 11:58 PM on June 25, 2003


Heads up -- the Mozilla google-toolbar clone will probably screw you up bad if you're using Phoenix, and is damned difficult to uninstall, to boot.
posted by webmutant at 12:00 AM on June 26, 2003


Can't say I've had any problems using the google-toolbar clone on Phoenix/Firebird (fantastic browser by the way). True that you can't yet uninstall extensions like the toolbar, but you can disable them.
posted by chrispy at 1:36 AM on June 26, 2003


You know, I wish more platforms (well, Linux and Windows) implemented a scripting language for GUI apps a la Applescript--I'd love to have a "blog this" button, but have no intention of switching to IE as my main browser, and in any case if Google's implementation is Blogger-specific, that does me no good since I use blosxom--but something as simple as copying a URL to the clipboard formatted as a link, so all I need to do is add the link text and the </a> would save a lot of effort. And I'm sure it would only take a couple of lines of Applescript, if I only had a Mac :-( (I've tried the programmable text editor route, but emacs seems to be the only choice that exists for both Linux and Windows, and I'm way too lazy to tackle that learning curve.)
posted by arto at 2:20 AM on June 26, 2003


Last time I tried the Google toolbar it didn't have keyboard shortcuts for any of its functions. I use the IE Web Accessories addon and to search google I just hit ALT-D and type "g [search query]". For google images, ALT-D + "gi [search query]", dictionary search: ALT-D + "d [search query]", php manual search: ALT-D + "p [search query]". You can add anything you want to it as long as you can fudge up the URL properly (you stick a %s where the query would be).

All the other browser enhancements seem to want me to pick up my mouse whenever I want to search and also force me to stick to a few predetermined services. I like to search often and in a ton of different places.

I think the web accessories thing is built into XP inside of TweakUI now.

(I learned this tip on the PHP Quick Reference Tips page some years ago.)
posted by frenetic at 2:40 AM on June 26, 2003


arto, you might want to check out XUL. You can write your own GUI apps for Mozilla. The only other thing you need is a bit of JavaScript.
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 AM on June 26, 2003


I love Dave's quick bar, wish here was a mac version.
posted by gemshwil at 6:07 AM on June 26, 2003


The only thing I use the Google toolbar (or IE) for these days is Page Rank, though I haven't checked, it's my understanding that the Moz version doesn't offer the Page Rank bar. Aside from that Mozilla combined with a few bookmarklets does pretty everything else the toolbar does-- better.

However, it's nice to see pop up blocking enabled in a tool with such widespread appeal. My mother isn't going to download Moz, Opera or Firebird and play with the settings, but she just might download the Google toolbar. Hopefully this is another nail in the coffin of obtrusive and unrequested pop ups.
posted by cedar at 6:10 AM on June 26, 2003


I remember when I installed Phil Ringnalda's contextual blogger menu, Blog this!. It seems like a relatively small interface change, but it totally improved my blogging experience.

Making a "blog this" button practically part of the browser interface is going to have a significant impact in ways we can't predict. I think.

Also, blogger has been updating all of the free blogs to the new version, so they have been inaccessible for a day or so. Mine works now.
posted by mecran01 at 6:23 AM on June 26, 2003


Last time I tried the Google toolbar it didn't have keyboard shortcuts for any of its functions.

Alt-G
posted by eatitlive at 7:04 AM on June 26, 2003


What other browser toolbars/gizmos make life easier for Joe Websurfer?

Mozilla.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:35 AM on June 26, 2003


arto - doesn't blogger offer a "blog this" bookmarklet? I use movabletype now, but I'm pretty sure I remember using one when I ran blogger. It's a fancy bit of javasrcipt that does the same thing as a toolbar button would. And if you use toolbar bookmarks, you can have it in basically the same place.

Not that learning XUL wouldn't be fun, but it seems like there's probably already a solution made for you.
posted by chrisege at 7:35 AM on June 26, 2003


What other browser toolbars/gizmos make life easier for Joe Websurfer?...
I can hardly live life without net news wire. It makes keeping track of all those blogs less time consuming and frees up my surfing time to read even more blogs.
posted by alicila at 8:20 AM on June 26, 2003


Haughey linked to a service that lets you read blogs via rss sent as imap email messages.

http://rss.blogstreet.com/asp-rssbin/auth_rss
posted by mecran01 at 10:49 AM on June 26, 2003


You don't need a special toolbar to have a one button "Blog This". Try adding this as a bookmark on your personal toolbar:

javascript:Q=document.getSelection();void(window.open('http://www.blogger.com/blog_form_pop-upE.pyra?t='+escape(Q)+'&u='+escape(location.href)+'&n='+escape(document.title),'bloggerForm','scrollbars=no,width=475,height=300,left=75,top=175,status=yes'));
posted by twsf at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2003


The only thing I have missed since changing from IE to Mozilla was the Google toolbar. Thanks, Ufez Jones, you have made my life complete! Well, almost.
posted by dg at 4:07 PM on June 26, 2003


for Safari MT users:
Miss your bookmarklet? this brings it back!

MT2Safari
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 4:51 PM on June 26, 2003


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