By tmuirtmuir (1222632541|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Google Toolbar 5 now available in Firefox

A few months ago Google released Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer. This introduced a lot of brand new features, and all the Firefox users out there wanted to have all this functionality in their browser of choice.

On Saturday, Google has allowed them to do just that. A (nearly) fully featured version of Google Toolbar went up for download. This is another one of Google's beta programs, but judging by some of their other beta products it'll be better than a lot of other retail products.

Check out this incredibly exciting video put out by their toolbar team, sure to entertain!

My Take

I've never been a huge fan of toolbars. I've always understood what they were for, and why people like them to a certain extent, but to me the advantage gained seemed less than the eyesore that the bar itself actually created. It has been a long time since the last time that I played around with one, and the last time that I used one was probably the original Yahoo bar whose functionality has been duplicated entirely by the search bar in the upper right corner of Firefox.

Looking at the feature list though, I'm tempted to give it a try. The biggest feature for me is the portability of it. You can save all your preferences to your Google Toolbar account and then access it anywhere else that Google Toolbar is also installed. Couple that with all the great features like multiple Auto Fill profiles and the ability to add any of these Google Gadgets you want could make it a very cool, very helpful tool.

Facts About the Google-Yahoo Advertisement Deal

A couple weeks ago in Yahoo Update 5 it was mentioned that Google and Yahoo signed an agreement in June to bring Google Ads to Yahoo. This partnership has been getting increasing scrutiny from the US Justice Department as well as the European Union.

In order to combat some of the negative press, Google has released a site to provide information from the source about the agreement and why "the agreement and why it is good for consumers, advertisers and publishers".

The site can be found here.

My Take

This is an interesting move on Google's part. Maybe I'm just getting a little too cynical but having this information provided to me by one of the major benefitting parties doesn't give me a whole lot of faith in the usefulness of a report like this.

I don't see a site like this convincing any of the non-believers. A 17 slide PowerPoint presentation spouting facts about how non-exclusive agreements like this have never been blocked by the regulation agencies above isn't a very compelling argument. It seems more like a site dedicated to making the people who already do not have aproblem with it more comfortable with it.

Iron is Chrome with more Privacy?


Shortly after the release of Google Chrome, there were some features that raised privacy concerns. Earlier this week, the German company SRWare took advantage of Chrome's open source nature by removing all the 'features' that raised the security concerns.

A quick list of changes can be seen here:

  • there won’t be a unique number delivered with the installation
  • there won’t be any auto-suggest functionality available in the address bar, so no such data will be sent to Google
  • program crashes won’t be reported to Google
  • there won’t be any alternate error messages when you enter a wrong URL
  • Iron won’t remember when it was installed; the timestamp feature available in Chrome was deactivated
  • there’s no more Google Updater running in the background

From this list, there are a few key features that have been removed - most obviously being the Google Updater. Without it, Iron now won't be getting critical security updates which may or may not be privacy related.

My Take

On the one hand, I think people are being way too sensitive to these so called privacy invasions. I do understand though that there are plenty of people out there that are willing to break out their tinfoil hat the moment anyone tells you that they will be collecting data, no matter how innocuous. Especially when this data is going to go to the creators to try to make their product even better in the future. If everyone switches over to using Iron (unlikely, I know) then Google would at the very least stop receiving any information related to crashes in Chrome. That's bad news, as that information could lead to a much more stable browsing experience. Also, the fact that Iron won't keep a time stamp of when it was installed is listed as a feature kind of gave me a chuckle. Seriously guys?

On the other hand, though, I'm pleased and excited to see companies already taking advantage of Chrome's open source. Even though the proposed 'features' of Iron do not appeal to me, the fact that they were able to get in under the hood and change it is great. That's what open source is all about: Don't like something? Change it yourself. It was a pretty quick turnaround too, Chrome has only been out about a month - maybe not even that long. It shouldn't be long before we start seeing people add some features, and maybe I'll have some interest in those.

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