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January 29, 2006

Google Toolbar 4.0 Beta

Google has released a new version of Google Toolbar for consumers and corporations: Google Toolbar 4.0.

Users can easily create their own buttons from Web sites, that allow them to search a site directly from the toolbar. Developers are able to use a new XML application-programming interface to create more advanced buttons that read feeds or do notifications. Bookmarks can be saved to a user's account so they can be accessed from any computer.

The enhanced search offers query suggestions and spelling corrections. Users can send Web pages via Gmail or mobile text messaging or to a blog with the click of a button. The new enterprise edition lets administrators control which features to enable. Google Toolbar 4.0 beta for Internet Explorer will initially be available in English, and in more than 16 languages by the end of March. It runs on Windows XP.

So it seems that Google pushed many new features tied with Google Accounts, finally created an easy way to bookmark pages, included Google Suggest and extended the custom searches from GMail, Desktop and Earth to external sites through custom buttons. Also the new Toolbar brings the live bookmarks from Firefox in Explorer.

A custom button can update its icon and tooltip from a remote server at specific intervals, so it could be used as a notification device, or as a status icon.

Very impressive (except for the ugly icons, of course) and very developers-orientated.