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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Google Toolbar 6 Beta for Internet Explorer

imageOver a year in the making, Google yesterday announced the Google Toolbar 6 Beta for Internet Explorer. This version includes a host of new features aimed at making search and navigation faster, stronger, and easier than ever before. This major update to Toolbar is launching simultaneously in 40 languages for the hundreds of millions of toolbar users worldwide.

Some highlights of Google Toolbar 6 include:

  • Access to search (and more) from outside the browser with the new Quick Search Box (QSB) feature.
  • Bringing additional elements of the Google search results page into the Toolbar with enhanced search suggestions.
  • Easier navigation to your favorite sites with a redesigned new tab page.

Quick Search Box (QSB) feature provides search functionality outside of the browser. Just click on the Google logo in the taskbar to trigger it (or use the Ctrl+Space shortcut for quicker access). As you type, it will provide search and website suggestions, relevant bookmarks, and even allow you to launch applications directly from the search box.

Try typing "solitaire" to see the application launcher in action. And here's the best part: as you use the QSB, it'll customize itself to your usage pattern, so over time you have to type fewer characters to navigate to your favorite sites and applications.

In addition, Google is building on their existing suggest functionality in the Toolbar search box by bringing elements from their search results page directly into the toolbar. Google is experimenting with displaying high-quality website suggestions and sponsored links as you type your query. Clicking on these will take you directly to the website (try typing "cnn" in the toolbar to see an example).

Lastly, the new tab page is added to Internet Explorer users (Firefox Toolbar users have been enjoying it already). You can quickly access your most viewed sites, recently closed tabs and bookmarked pages — all from this new tab page. Editing your most visited sites is easy, and all this data remains locally in your browser, meaning none of your most viewed sites or recently closed pages are sent back to Google. Those who prefer new tabs to open a blank page or a website can do so in the Internet Explorer or Toolbar settings menus.

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