After Six Years, Google Drops Support For Toolbar On Firefox
Google said the Google Toolbar works in versions of Firefox 4 or younger, but not the new version 5 of Firefox. Google explained, “many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox are now already built right into the browser.” So Google has decided the toolbar doesn’t offer enough of a value-add on Firefox and thus is no longer supporting it.
The Google Toolbar was first introduced over years ago for Firefox. Then later came to Internet Explorer. As you know, Google has their own browser, Chrome, without support for the Google Toolbar – but like they said above, Google’s Chrome browser has many of the toolbar features built directly into the browser.
Postscript From Danny Sullivan: It’s rather stunning to see this closure. For one, Google uses the toolbar to track user behavior. It’s one way that Google gets site speed data that in turn is used to influence its search results. Many suspect that that surfing behavior is also used. The article below has more:
The argument that many features of the Google Toolbar are built into the browser doesn’t wash. Firefox doesn’t offer a native way to perform site-specific search, not to view cached pages, nor to perform specific vertical searches on Google, not to get PageRank data.
Firefox also doesn’t feed back into Google Web History. Only the Google Toolbar does that, which means Google has now permanently broken a part of personalized search for Firefox users going forward (and made no mention of this in its help pages). More about how the toolbar works with personalization is below:
- Google Search History Expands, Becomes Web History
- Google Now Personalizes Everyone’s Search Results
Why would Google do such a thing, cutting both users off from their personalized data and itself off from receiving that information? My guess is that Firefox users weren’t found to be using the PageRank meter much (which in turn enables Web History / personalization).
Google’s never had a Google Toolbar for Chrome, so it has likewise been blind to getting information about site speed or user behavior through it, at least if you believe what Google says about not monitoring what people do in Chrome.
This leaves Internet Explorer as the only browser with support, unless you want to stay with an older version of Firefox. However, I’d recommend Groowe as a solution for the toolbar-less on Firefox 5. It’s a long-standing plug-in that mimic most of the major features of the Google Toolbar, plus other search engine toolbars. I’ve happily used it for years.
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