New: “Google Related” Toolbar Shows Google Content As You Surf


Google has just released a new info discovery tool named Google Related that allows users to find and access content that’s similar to what they’re viewing in their web browser.

Before the brief overview below, we need to point out that we’re writing this post without having had an opportunity to actually use Google Related. In other words, we’re reporting on what we saw in a demo and in screenshots.

How Google Related Works

If related material (websites, videos, products for sale, maps, etc.) is available (as determined by an algorithm) it can be viewed in a toolbar found at the bottom of the web browser window. The related material will come from or via a number of Google web sites and properties.

Here are a few examples of the types of material Google Related can provide:

1. You’re looking at the Wikipedia entry for Beyoncé. Inside the Google Related toolbar you might find her music videos, recent news about her and/or web pages about her.


One thing we like about Google’s new service is that the video content it brings back (via YouTube) can be viewed in a pop-up window attached to the the actual Google Related toolbar. In other words, you don’t have to leave the web page and open a new tab or window. In fact, all of the content Google related provides does not require a new window or tab.

2. You’re looking at a web page for a restaurant you’re considering dining at for a your friend’s birthday dinner. This time, Google Related brings back a map of the area where the restaurant is located, reviews, and other “related” restaurants that might be worth a look. So, without having to be on the actual Google Places page for the restaurant users still can easily and quickly access the same info.


3. You’re doing a a price search for a new smartphone on Amazon. Google Related provides comparison pricing data, related products, and video demos.


To see a bit of Google Related in action, Google has a short demo available on YouTube.

Potential Benefits Of Google Related

The potential benefits for the searcher are saving time, effort, and being able to quickly see if they might have missed something from a source (or a Google property) they might have missed or did not know about.

For Google it means that users will spend more time using Google’s services. Of course, it would be possible to monetize the actual Google Related toolbar.

What We Would Like to See

As the amount of data on the Internet continues to explode tools like Google Related have a lot of potential to save users a lot of time especially if the related algorithm works well. One thing that would help Google Related go to the next level is allowing users to plug-in a variety of databases from many providers. For example, a college student might be able to include full text results from their e-text books from a database of archived journals and newspapers.

Of course, with Google being involved in a wide (and expanding) number of products and companies these days, we also need to see what type of coverage that can generate for Google Related.

Google Related & Browser Compatibility

google-related-logoThe Google Related toolbar is now available for Chrome and IE users and can be downloaded with the regular Google Toolbar. Firefox and Opera users are out of luck.

We do not know if or when versions for these browsers will be available. Given that Google announced that they’re ending support for their Firefox search toolbar last month, we’re not holding our breath.

The Return Of Contextual Search?

While Google Related is brand new, this type of search — sometimes referred to as contextual search or real-time contextual search — has been around for more than a decade providing a variety of related info from a variety of disparate sources.

Although previous attempts at this type of search and search tools have not been “the next big thing,” perhaps the time is right to give it another try? We will have to wait and see not only the value that the Google Related technology can provide but also if Google makes an all out effort to market the product.

As with many Google services there are also enterprise possibilities for Google Related technology. For example, a searcher starts with a Google search and then begins reviewing results. As they look at different pages, related results from both other open web, fee-based, and local databases appear.

Old is New Again: A Bit of Contextual Search History

For the web search historians out there, here are a few of the context search products we’re talking about. Most were around in the the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Google Related was developed by Google’s R&D Center in Israel. The person in charge at the center is Yosi Matias who was the Chairman, CEO, Co-Founder of Zapper, a company that was doing contextual search in the late 1990s. Here’s a paper on contextual search by Mattias and his colleagues at Zapper: Placing Search in Context: The Concept Revisited. The paper was presented at WWW10 in 2001.

Learn More

In addition to releasing the toolbar, Google’s also released a video explaining more about how it works:

YouTube Preview Image


Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: General | Google: Toolbar | Top News


About The Author: is a librarian, author, and an online information analyst based in suburban Washington, DC. He is the co-founder and co-editor of INFOdocket and and prior to that was founder/editor of ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. He has worked for Blekko,, and at Search Engine Watch where he was news editor. In 2001, Price was the co-author (with Chris Sherman) of the best-selling book The Invisible Web.

Connect with the author via: Email


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  • davep

    I’m amazed at the audacity of Google launching this at the time it is facing a number of investigations into alleged anti-competitive business practices.

    The majority of links Google Related pops up are links to their own properties.

    For example, I run a restaurant guide website. When I browse a restaurant page on my site, it pops up offering me links to: Google’s Place page for the same restaurant; the Google maps page for the same restaurant; links to Google places pages for other restaurants nearby; some web results to other competitors sites. Perhaps some of this is useful to the user, but the abundance of links to Google properties makes me more than a little sceptical as to the true intentions here.

    If I browse the Google Places page, it doesn’t give me any suggestions. In fact, I’ve yet to find any Google page it does give suggestions for.

    In my opinion, the sole purpose of this, as with virtually every algo change, redesign and product they have launched recently is to get users onto Google web properties and away from other websites.

  • Kanat Ozturan

    It’s MALWARE-ADWARE. That’s what Google-Related is. I hardly think users would appreciate this addon because its one more distraction that resides on top of the page you are visiting. Just like the pop-ups, page blocking annoying ads. So I can’t believe that anybody can say anything positive about it. I hate it as a user, I hate is as an e-commerce site owner. I wonder how this article would read if that addon was downloaded to your from a third-party feeding SEARCH HELP. The article would be showing you ways to clean it.

  • dans

    For web publishers, this is a bad idea. We spend lots of time, money and energy optimizing our sites for search to build traffic. Now, the \Google Related\ toolbar is pushing our users to our competitor sites. It’s only a matter of time before Google ads start to display in the toolbar. There will also be issues on publishers sites that use their own footer tool bars like Wibya. Two stacked toolbars will create a poor user experience.

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