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March 2, 2007

Google Toolbar's Voting Buttons


In December 2001, when there was no Digg or StumbleUpon, Google Toolbar launched a beta version:
A new version of the Google toolbar now in beta testing sports a new look -- happy and sad faces that let toolbar users rate web pages. (...)

Google says that excessive clicks are watched for. Google also assures that it has mechanisms in place to ensure good sites don't get penalized by competitors voting against them.

Here's how Google describes the feature: "Use these buttons to vote for or against a page or search result. Click the happy or unhappy face to tell Google that you like or dislike a particular page. You can also use these buttons to report especially good or bad results after you do a search with Google."

Matt Cutts explained at that time: "Right now it's just an experiment. Worst case, it's an easy way for people to report spam that we can handle automatically. We might see if we can improve our search with this data."

In 2003, when Google Toolbar 2 was launched, Google was still undecided: "This feature is currently in test mode, so you will not notice any immediate effects based on your action, other than experiencing a warm sense of satisfaction from having shared your feelings with people who really do care."

The tests must have been positive since the feature was included in the next version too. It's interesting to note that the mysterious feature continous to be available in the Internet Explorer version of Google Toolbar (Settings > Options > More > Voting), but it hasn't been included in the Firefox extension.


This small feature may have been responsible for detecting spam sites or for changing page rankings, but Google could resurrect it and make it a part of Google Personalized Search. They already show interesting pages related to your interests, these voting buttons could refine Google's data and improve the personalized search results.

12 comments:

  1. How come they don't have it for Firefox Google Toolbar, I saw this in IE. Cool feature, also would help some kind of statistics beyond a simple smiley sign.

    ReplyDelete
  2. digg did something similar and they are valued more than $60M.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm curious as to why it says "Explorer 6" when it is obviously 7...

    ReplyDelete
  4. That text can be easily edited in the Registry.

    * Start/Run/Regedit

    * Go to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

    * Edit the value for "Window Title".

    ReplyDelete
  5. how do i turn off the "asteriks" sound when i click the google Vote icon ?

    ap14rcf70 at y! dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Google toolbar updated, for my IE7.

    Version: 5.0.2124.6042/it (ADBF)
    Notifier Version: 5.0.926.3450
    Dictionary Compression Version: 1.0.610.10250

    voting buttons are disappeared definitively

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the feature Happy & unhappy faces. Its joyful option .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cette option n'est plus disponible sur la nouvelle version en france.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How come they don't have it for Firefox Google Toolbar, I saw this in IE. Cool feature, also would help some kind of statistics beyond a simple smiley sign.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I saw this in IE. Cool feature, also would help some kind of statistics beyond a simple smiley sign.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yeah they don't have it for Firefox. Too bad, the smileys are cool.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't see an option to add voting buttons with happy and sad faces in the version of the toolbar I'm using.

    Version: 6.6.1124.846/en (GGHP)
    Notifier Version: 5.6.5805.1910

    I remember it from earlier versions. They definitely need to bring this back. I'm getting tired of the additional spam showing up in search results.

    ReplyDelete