Google Toolbar
December 11, 2000 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Google Toolbar -- anyone try this yet?
posted by johnb (20 comments total)
Just did, by accident. It's actually quite nifty. I had the yahoo, but, uninstalled that. The cool feature in here is that it highlights the searched for word, that's one of the reasons, when I'm looking for something, and the page is long featuring many, many items, in cached version, the word is highlighted, so you can find it easily. It's nice.
posted by tiaka at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2000

Er. I was invited to the official friends & family pre-release version of it, but didn't bother to actually try it out yet. I'm really just making this entry so that I can brag that my brother-in-law works at Google. He's a patent & trademark lawyer. No, um, I won't kid myself that anyone cares.
posted by beth at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2000

Does anybody have any concern about having the URLs you visit sent to Google?

Google product tracker could raise privacy concerns
posted by timothompson at 1:34 PM on December 11, 2000

I'll use it at work. If my boss can see it, google can too.
posted by Mick at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2000

I've been using this bookmarklet for some time. Drag it to your toolbar (I use IE, don't know how/if it works for others). If you highlight a selection in a web document and then press the button, it'll search using that selection. If nothing's highlighted, it'll pop up a small text box. I don't recall where I got it. Jorn or Cam, maybe.
posted by ewagoner at 1:59 PM on December 11, 2000

Google has these bookmarklets on their webpage. this should be the netscape version.
posted by fvw at 2:08 PM on December 11, 2000

Beth, a patent & trademark lawyer at Google!? COOL!!!
posted by rodii at 2:09 PM on December 11, 2000

They're offering two versions - one that feeds data on sites you visit back to them, a second scaled down version that doesnt. While I'm sure the FBI has already canivore-ized me, I still chose the scaled-down version.
posted by darren at 2:13 PM on December 11, 2000

I added the toolbar to my browser this morning, and while it looks useful in a general sense, I'm still not sure if I'll actually use it or not (this was pretty much the story with Deepleap, too). The bookmarklet is perfect though, ewagoner.. I've been meaning to write one like that for myself for ages, but I'm far, far too lazy.
posted by jess at 2:52 PM on December 11, 2000

There are several similar ones at Steve Kangas' bookmarklets site, for those who don't know. I use a few of them from time to time, and I've written a couple, but the only one I can admit to using regularly is the pop-up Google search box. (Half a dozen times a day is a low estimate.)
posted by dhartung at 3:44 PM on December 11, 2000

I've got a number of bookmarklets on my toolbar from the aforementioned One for Google, one for, a couple that resize the browser window to standard monitor resolutions, a 2-page back button, and an ad suppressor. I use them quite a bit. I pretty sure most of the functionality of the Google Toolbar could be duplicated with a set of bookmarklets.
posted by dithered at 4:09 PM on December 11, 2000

The Google toolbar is amazingly efficient. I just poped it up to the right of my menu bar, so it's not even taking up any more "website" space on my screen. All of its features are useful. And it integrates seemlessly into IE.
posted by grank at 5:43 PM on December 11, 2000

I installed the Google toolbar this morning. I am already in love with it. I lose track even trying to count the number of Google searches I do in a day... tres useful little thing, this.
posted by champignon at 6:43 PM on December 11, 2000

It's a good tool, but needs lots of refinement. First problem is that the toolbar search sends you to a Google results page that contains a web-based search box. If you goof and use the web-based box, the toolbar doesn't track your activity. The toolbar search *should* send you to a custom version of Google that is designed to work well with the toolbar.

Second problem is that the search box is also a pull-down menu. That breaks peoples' fundamental expectation that a pull-down menu cannot be typed into. There are lots of alternative (and better) ways they could present the search box. But... I suppose that's why they're hiring for a usability expert.
posted by fleener at 10:38 PM on December 11, 2000

fleener, look at your url box--it's a "pull-down" menu that you can type into. Google's is just not as long. It's the same thing IE already has.
posted by grank at 11:34 PM on December 11, 2000

Actually, the drop-down aspect of Google and IE's (and NNs, I think) url boxes is an important UI widget. It's a minimized combo box, and it's what lets you type in text and have selections automatically filled in.

I don't think there's actually a combo box widget for browsers, which has always somewhat confused me, and is ultimately the reason drop-downs are misused.
posted by cCranium at 6:41 AM on December 12, 2000

The majority of users never pull down their URL box or even understand what their browsing 'history' is. They are likely to be more familiar with form boxes if they've used the web for any length of time because a web form is an up-front task that the user must figure out to accomplish a task. The URL bar can and is safely ignored by most people.

That won't matter as much to home users who are sophisticated enough to install the toolbar, but is a drawback for widespread use in libraries, campus computer labs, offices, etc. The more that has to be explained about a thing, the more difficult that thing is to use. Also, understand that by any practical standard, MetaFilter users are "advanced" Internet users. More than half of America is not even online yet.
posted by fleener at 7:22 AM on December 12, 2000

To use it you have to be running Windows and Internet Exploder?! (not a typo) Bleah. I'm a Mac person.
posted by ljc at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2000

Now if only they could build in "Deepleap" type functionality....
posted by TuxHeDoh at 3:43 PM on December 13, 2000

mac people suck
posted by grank at 1:20 AM on December 15, 2000

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