I don't normally announce every Google release here, but this one is different 'cause I worked on the PageRank feature in my 20% time. You can get it here.
[ Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux ]
So... maybe you guys can explain this to me. I've been really happy with Firefox because I don't have to take up extra room in my toolbar to have popup blocking and a google search pane. I don't see why I'm going to blow a whole row on my browser for this. (yes, I realize it highlights all the search terms in the page, but so does viewing through the google cache). And showing pagerank stats is OK, but it means google's tracking all my browsing.
I'm not saying this toolbar is a bad thing (it gives Firefox a lot of credibility), but I'm just not seeing the real value vs. using it on IE.
This actually reminds me that when Google toolbar for IE came out, I was thinking that Microsoft was completely out to lunch. The only reasons I used toolbar was to avoid the registry hack to search in Google from the address bar and to stop popups. Now... why is MS going to let Google toolbar get all the love for something they could easily just release into IE. They let a simple piece of technology totally make a laughing stock of their browser. Allowing their customers to hassle with downloading from a competitor for two basic features is really a dumb move for Microsoft.
Ummm, have you tried autolink or spellcheck or translate? Those alone make it worth while. Plus, it's like a whole 20 pixels! My guess is all you screen realestate whiners are wasting way more than that (i.e. are you browsing in full screen mode?).
Kudos to Google. Nice that we get to play with something you worked on.
I'm using the MSN toolbar and search hwever on all my machines. The funny thing is that I have it defaulted to use google for all my searches. I agree with J though, I'm all about screen realestate. I modify all my browsers and windows to be as thin as possible. I auto hide the taskbar etc. And yes I do browse full screen... on low res devices at least.
No idea what autolink is, but it sounds like advertising or something. Spell check might be OK for form submissions like this one. Translate I don't really need. Maybe I should install this and just enable it when I want to spell check. There's probably a firefox extension for that though.
What it comes down to for me, is when I start relying on one company too much for stuff, I start looking for alternatives. And I've hit this point with Google.
On another note: in firefox, type "http" into the url bar and hit return. Ouchie!
PageRank (sending the URL to Google so that it can return the "normalized importance" of that URL) is independent from spell checking or autolink. You can turn off PageRank and still use the other stuff.
Autolink scans a page for addresses, and makes them clickable via a link to a maps provider (Google maps is the default, of course, but you can choose MapQuest or Yahoo maps). This basically saves you cutting and pasting a bunch of times to fill out the address forms. If the map already has a link, it does nothing. It sounds like a frivolous feature, but it is really handy.
Another feature that is really useful is the little search box (on the left in the above image). I've configured mine so that it opens a new tab with the search results so you don't lose your current page.
Sounds like some features that should be part of the Accessibility Options in Windows. I've never known anybody to use those either.
Now out of beta. It adds Google suggest to the search box, and the ability to re-arrange the buttons (including moving them onto other toolbars, such as the menu bar) in order to increase screen real estate.