Google Toolbar

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Google Toolbar
File:Toolbar sm.png
Developer(s) Google
Stable release 6.4.1321.1732 (Internet Explorer)
7.0.2009.1216b (Firefox) / January 27, 2010 (Internet Explorer)
December 21, 2009 (Firefox)
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Mac OS X
Type Toolbar
License Proprietary freeware

Google Toolbar is an Internet browser toolbar available for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.



Google toolbar resides above the browser's tab bar and provides a search box to carry out web searches. Users can login into their GMail accounts and access their emails, saved bookmarks and web history. It has tools such as AutoLink, AutoFill, translation, spell checker common to all browsers, while pop-up blocker and word finder are restricted to Internet Explorer.[1]


Google Sidewiki was launched September 23rd, 2009.[2] With Sidewiki you can view comments made by other users of the Google Toolbar made on a website. A user can also make comments related to a particular page. The benefit is that users can provide feedback and information on a page that might not be readily apparent to a new visitor. Users can also discuss a page's content. If something about a page changes, the user can go back and edit the contribution.

Google uses ranking algorithms to determine comment relevancy and usefulness using criteria such as users voting up and down a comment, and past user's contributions. Anyone can look up a contributor and, from accumulated entries on the user's Google profile, verify the contributor's credibility.

Sidewiki is currently available for Internet Explorer and Firefox through Google toolbar, and the Google Chrome browser through an add-on. For other browsers like Safari its available as a bookmarklet.

There is some concern that Sidewiki is an intrusion by Google into other web sites in a way that the web site owner cannot control.[3] There is currently no way for a web site to opt out of Sidewiki commenting.[4]

AutoLink controversy

Google toolbar was criticized when the AutoLink feature was added to the toolbar because this new feature directed users to pre-selected commercial websites such as and Google maps. For example, if it finds a book's ISBN number on a webpage, it provides a link to Amazon's product page for the particular book. Google said that the feature "adds useful links" and "none of the companies which received AutoLinks had paid for the service".[5][6]


Several concerns were raised about privacy, such as tracking of browsing patterns, automatic installation of updates without the user's knowledge, and a privacy policy that can be revised without notice.[7] The toolbar does not track personally identifiable surfing activities of the end user unless advanced features such as PageRank are specifically enabled by the user.[8] It does track "anonymous" statistics, which can reveal a lot of information when correlated with other data, although similar criticisms could be made of Google's online search engine.[9]

Google Compute

Google Compute was a separately downloadable add-on for the Google Toolbar which allowed participation in a distributed computing project to help scientific research. It started on a limited basis in March 2002[10] and ended in October 2005.[11] [12]

Google Compute enabled a user's computer to help solve challenging scientific problems when the computer would otherwise be idle. When one enabled Google Compute, the computer downloaded a small piece of a large research problem and performed calculations on it that were then included with results from thousands of other computers. Google Compute was only available for the English language version of the Google Toolbar.[13]

The effort's first and only contribution was to Folding@home, a non-profit endeavor to model the process of protein folding in order to better understand and cure many different diseases. The Google Compute homepage recommends that users wishing to continue contributions to the project download the official Folding@home client.

Inoperability with ISP-based DNS hijacking

A number of Internet Service Providers have implemented DNS hijacking with the purpose of redirecting users to advertisements whenever they mistype a URL in a browser. Where an ISP has implemented this configuration, it interferes with some functionality of the Google Toolbar.

Similar Toolbars

See also


  1. "Google Toolbar Features". Google. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  2. "Help and learn from others as you browse the web: Google Sidewiki". Google. 23 September, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  3. Andrew Keen. "Sidewiki: Google colonial sideswipe". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  4. [How do webmasters opt out of sidewiki? "How do webmasters opt out of sidewiki?"]. Google. How do webmasters opt out of sidewiki?. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  5. "Google Toolbar Autolink Controversy: Much Ado about Nothing?". Digital Home. 22 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  6. Google's new toolbar: Now more evil than ever
  7. "Does Wesley’s Google Toolbar Invade Your Privacy ? Not Really". TechPluto. 16 May, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  8. Is Google too powerful? by Bill Thompson, BBC News, 2/21/2003
  9. Olsen, Stefanie (March 27, 2003). "Google tests distributed computing". CNet News. 
  10. "Support center". Folding@Home.  "The Google compute program has ended."
  11. "Is Google quitting the project?". Folding Community. October 22, 2005. 
  12. Shankland, Stephen (March 22, 2002). "Google takes on supercomputing". CNet News. 

External links

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da:Google Toolbar de:Google Toolbar es:Google Compute fa:نوار ابزار گوگل fr:Barre d'outils Google ko:구글 툴바 it:Google Toolbar ka:Google Toolbar nl:Google Toolbar ja:Googleのサービス#Google ツールバー no:Google Toolbar pl:Google Toolbar pt:Google Toolbar ru:Google Toolbar sv:Google Toolbar vi:Google Toolbar tr:Google Toolbar yi:גוגל כלים פאס zh:Google工具列

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