As of this morning, Firefox users can enjoy the Google Toolbar, just like the approximate 70-80% of US web users still (sadly) using IE.
There's been the Googlebar option available from the Mozdev folks for some time. But this is the real deal and contains the much sought after PageRank widget that the Googlebar lacked.Admittedly, I'm not too excited about giving up yet more of my browser window to yet another toolbar, but I suppose there are a few features that might compel one to do so.
Of note are the built-in spell checker for form field content, the AutoLink capability (finds and highlights mappable addresses, allows you to click for a Google or other map), and the simple yet much appreciated option to have your searches open in a new tab.
These are nice features, but perhaps not terribly convincing. I don't use the PageRank tool so that's lost on me. The spell checker is great, but you can get the SpellBound extension for Firefox that clips one into your context menu, so again not a big deal. The AutoLink feature seems to be the only winner here, and its not really that compelling.
Hmmm, I'm being negative, I realize. But the one really cool item I'd love to have is actually missing from the Google toolbar, and found in a separate Firefox extension. Google Suggest for Firefox auto completes your search phrases. This is more than a little nifty and for several reasons. Yet Google has released this as a separate extension that improves Firefox's built-in search box and in a way is much cooler than the Toolbar.
They've also release the Google Send to Phone, another Firefox extension which allows you to highlight a bit of a web page and then SMS it to yourself, or to anyone else with a US mobile phone number.
Exciting stuff for geeks. This 20% free time policy at the Googleplex seems to be bearing some interesting if occasionally conflicting fruit.
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