Launched in December 2000, Google Toolbar started as a way to add features that were missing from Internet Explorer. Users had to visit Google's homepage to perform a search and the toolbar improved the experience by adding a search box to the browser. In the next versions, the toolbar added query suggestions, a pop-up blocker, a spell checker and other features that later became part of most modern browsers.
In May 2007, Google launched a plug-in that made browsers more powerful by integrating advanced features like offline storage, local database, location services. Google Gears added invisible features that allowed web applications to become more responsive and to work even offline.
A press release from 2000 explained that "Google exists to provide the world's best Internet search experience. Google accomplishes this for millions of users daily by delivering a powerful, fast, and easy way to find the most relevant information available." Google changed the scope of the mission from improving the way you search the web to improving the way you experience the web. A better browser, along with a faster Internet connection, great web applications and an open environment that encourages innovation bring more Internet users and, as a consequence, more Google users.
A doodle salute for Sally Ride
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