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January 9, 2008

Use Google Web History Without Installing Google Toolbar


If you want to use Google Web History and save your browser's history on Google's servers, you generally need to go to this page and select "Enable Web History and install the toolbar". This procedure installs Google Toolbar, a plug-in available only for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and enables the PageRank feature, which displays the ranking of any site you visit while sending the URL to Google in the process.

If you use another browser or if you don't like Google Toolbar, there's an alternative way to send all the web pages you visit to Google: a script that asks Google for the PageRank of any web pages you load in your browser. To install the script you need:

* Greasemonkey, an extension for Firefox. Make sure to restart the browser before trying to add the script.
* Trixie, one of the best Greasemonkey-like plug-ins for Internet Explorer
* SIMBL and GreaseKit for Safari
* no additional software for Opera, but you need to enable the feature from Opera's interface
* Konqueror Userscript for Konqueror

The script is taken from this site, that also adapted it from other scripts. I mirrored the script to an easily-accessible location.

Once you've added the script, you only need to enable Google Web History: go to this page and select "Enable Web History and install the toolbar", but cancel the downloading process (you don't need the toolbar).

This feature only works when you're logged in to your Google Account. To disable it, remove the script from Greasemonkey or from another plug-in you've installed.

41 comments:

  1. I'm using Safari 3.0.4 on Leopard, but Greasekit won't install for me even though I have followed the instructions... any ideas?

    Excellent post, though.

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  2. I've always been able to do exactly that on safari for years without the plugin...whats the difference???

    for anonymous, make sure to install simbl, then add the greasekit.plugin to the simbl folder somewhere in yout library (im dont remember where it is exactly) then restart safari.

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  3. The PageRank extension for Firefox also works
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2007

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  4. Also for greasemonkey scripts you can use IE7 Pro, but only for IE7 and IE6 (confusingly). Also IE7 pro has loads of other great features in it, like universal drag and drop, and I couldn't live with IE without it.

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  5. @pb30:
    Obviously, that extension is another alternative, but it's limited to Firefox. This small script (~1KB) works in most browsers.

    @grantpe:
    It's weird: there are so many user script plug-ins for IE and none of them is as good as Greasemonkey.

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  6. So you use history without installing Google toolbar, by instead installing even more bloat than Google toolbar?

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  7. First of all, if you don't use IE or Firefox, you can't install Google Toolbar because it's not compatible with your browser.

    Second of all, in Opera you don't install anything. In other browsers, you install Greasemonkey or other plug-in for user scripts. Greasemonkey is one of the most useful Firefox extension and you should already have it.

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  8. Huh? I've been using web history since June of 2007 and I've never had the Google toolbar installed. I simply have to log into my account.

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  9. That's a part of the service (search history) and only includes Google search results you've clicked on. Google is not ubiquitous.

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  10. Ha! The ad in the top right of the page was FOR google toolbar!

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  11. The script should be uploaded to userscripts.org.

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  12. I didn't create the script and I don't know the licensing terms.

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  13. The script itself says ‘@license public domain’.

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  14. OK, then upload it to userscripts.org and post a link here.

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  15. Hi, I am the one who wrote the blog post introduced as this site.

    I told the creater of the script to put it on userscript.org. I think it will be coming soon.

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  16. Here we go.

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/19741

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  17. Why in the world are you telling people how to USE the History function?

    You should be telling them how to disable it, like I did the first day I heard about it!

    I never really paid attention to it, but I guess this blog isn't so 'unofficial' after all!

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  18. It's very unofficial, trust me. I didn't advise anyone to enable Google Web History, I just provided an alternative way to enable it, especially for those who use Opera, Safari and other browsers not supported by Google Toolbar.

    The service is disabled by default (I talk about web history, not search history) and you must do some work to enable it. If you don't want to enable it (e.g.: for privacy reasons), nobody forces to enable it and this post didn't recommended to do that.

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  19. I've decided to test out Google Web History, but I'm wondering how I should go about disabling it if I decide to do so in the future.

    Any tips?

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  20. In the Google Web History page, click Sign out on the top right of the page. This will sign you out from the Web History only, ie. if you want to sign out from Google Account you need to click Sign out again.

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  21. @edvakf:
    Inaccurate.

    @Mysterius:
    If only want to disable web history and keep the search history, then remove the mechanisms that send your browser history to Google (disable PageRank in Google Toolbar, disable the script from this post). To disable search history, clear it or temporarily pause it, there are options in the interface.

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  22. that script doesn work - generates wrong CH value :(

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  23. No, the hash is correct. To test it, go to a site and check to see if Google added the site at google.com/history.

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  24. It generates correct hash only half time at best. Sometimes it even generates negative values.

    But that doesn't matter. I have a script which generates correct hash, but even then it doesnt work, site just doesn't get added to history..

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  25. Maybe there's something wrong with your configuration. The hash algorithm seems to be OK and the script only creates an invisible image from the generated URL.

    I updated the script to remove some redundancies: it won't send to Google URLs connected to Google Search, Google Image Search, Google Maps, Google Video, Book Search, Blog Search since they're already monitored. I also excluded HTTPS pages.

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  26. hm, we can try to debug. i'm seeing two problems right now.. how could i contact you by email, or, preferably, by im?

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  27. Is there any way to set up the Google Web History in a firefox sidebar, just setting the page to open in the sidebar is not useable

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  28. This is a god-send ;) I love google web history...my history is now with me, no matter what computer I go on, as long as I'm logged into Google :P

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  29. Strangely enough, Chrome, too, isn't compatible with Google Toolbar yet.
    But it has native Greasemonkey support... so this script works fine.
    Thanks!

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  30. So this script still works, even 2 years later? No updates necessary? :) This looks interesting, gonna give it a run with Chrome now.

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  31. Perhaps some kind soul can turn this into a (much easier to install) Safari 5 Extension?

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  32. How do I enable Google search history? I use Firefox & no Google toolbar. The Google search bar at google.com (not the small one that appears in Firefox) used to keep track of what I searched for. I went away for a few days & upon returning the Google search bar fills in with their suggestions, not mine. I tried changing whatever Google settings there were but it makes no difference. How do I enable my search history?

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  33. @Anonymous:

    Google's suggestions can no longer be disabled from the settings. Bookmark this page:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0

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  34. I've recently discovered that the Safari 5 extension "Safari PageRank" achieves the same. This is a lot easier than the old SIMBL+GreaseKit+Script combo (or the more recent NinjaKit+Script solution.)

    http://www.seolondon.com/safari-pagerank/

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  35. Fortunately all is well, the original poster MallowLabs http://d.hatena.ne.jp/mallowlabs/20080104/1199461216 is still about. Might be worthy chasing down closer to home for an update.

    Note that the OP and posts are in Japanese so best of luck with it.

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