Google has released version 3 of its Toolbar for Firefox, and this one comes with a lot of features IE users have been enjoying, as well as one pretty cool one of its own. The new Toolbar adds the cool custom buttons system, as well as providing access to bookmarks through Search History, the Send To feature that sends pages via email/SMS/blog, and lets you sign in to your Google account.
The new feature is an interesting one, tied into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Now, if you have any file that you know Google D&S can read, you can just drag it into the browser window, and the Google service will open the file for you. This can also work when you click on a link to one of these files, or even when you double-click on a file in the filesystem. In essence, Google has made it possible to set a web-based program as the default for certain filetypes, making using D&S almost as natural as opening the same files in Word or Excel.
While I don’t use D&S, guaranteed there are plenty of users who do, and are going to love this feature, which basically divorces you from Microsoft Office’s programs entirely. I’m just hoping the same feature is being developed for the next version of the IE Toolbar.
(via the Google Blog and LifeHacker)
Google has picked up another big ad partner: eBay. The deal will have Google run advertising on eBay’s non-U.S. sites, as well as introduce Google-powered click-to-call on all eBay sites. Yahoo will continue to provide ads in the U.S.. eBay will also start distributing the Google Toolbar with downloads of Skype, the Toolbar will add a Skype button, and the two companies will consider enabling Google Talk to Skype instant messaging.
Google OS writes that Google and Mozilla have signed a deal with Real to distribute Firefox, the Google Toolbar and Google Desktop with RealPlayer, Rhapsody and RealArcade. Yeah, because Real isn’t bloated, and adding a web browser and desktop replacement / search indexer won’t make it an even more bloated download. Now, when people try to simply play a video in a format they wish they didn’t have to deal with, they wind up with a new web browser, the Google sidebar, a two-gig search index, Google widgets all over the desktop, and a new toolbar in Internet Explorer.
If you can’t stand RealPlayer, as many can’t (and this doesn’t help), your best bet it Real Alternative. It comes with Media Player Classic, a pretty good media player by itself, and runs the RealMedia codecs without Real’s bloatware.
Irvine Googleplex and AdSense Audio
Zachary Applegate of Plumber Surplus posted at SEOmoz a first-person account of his team’s recent visit to the Google offices in Irvine, California. Besides describing the office, which has the typical Google search ticker and a new Google Earth display, he also recounts their description of the in-development AdSense Audio system. Highlights:
- Most radio ad buys start at $20,000. AdSense Audio will let those with $200 to spend get in on audio advertising.
- Timing is everything. If a heat wave starts, AdSense Audio may switch ads from hot foods to colder foods, for example.
- AdSense Audio will target radio, IPTV and podcast markets.
Check out the interface they are currently using. It doesn’t look anything like a typical Google interface, and it looks great. Looks like a pretty cool visit. Digg it.
Google Analytics Gets Blog
There is now a Google Analytics blog, at analytics.blogspot.com (kinda surprised that wasn’t taken). The blog has a pretty cool look to it. Get the feed.
We do not associate any of the information that Toolbar sends with other personal information about you. However, it is possible that a URL or other page information sent to Google may itself contain personal information. For information about how some web sites embed personal information in web requests, click here.
That could be a pretty big deal. I’d like to know if things I do with the Google Toolbar are specifically associated with my Google Account, especially since Google lets you login to your Google Account with the more recent versions of the toolbar. This is the sort of thing a Scoble-type would probably try to answer for us…
Dell Using Google Earth For Tech Support
The Detroit News reports that Dell is enhancing its tech support service by integrating it with Google Earth. Customers will be able to see in Earth the status of their support requests, visualized as to their location on the globe. I hope Google has good imagery in India.
All kidding aside, Dell’s customer service has been crap for a while. First off, I don’t think Google would want to be associated with the next story of a Dell customer getting angry in a very public way. Second, I’m not sure Dell wants its customers to know the extent of their support outsourcing. Third, if Dell wants to improve its service, there are other areas they need to pay attention to first. This is purely a money deal, part of their deal with Google to promote Google products.
German Lawsuit Against Google Book Search Withdrawn
WBG, a German Publisher, dropped their lawsuit against Google Book Search last week, after being told by the judge that they were probably going to lose. The court said it was going to side with Google’s arguement that showing snippets from in-copyright books is no worse than showing snippets from websites in Google web search (an already accepted practice). Google would probably have been better off if the lawsuit had not been withdrawn, since that sort of ruling would have set a very useful legal precedent, one that they will have to prove all over again in the next lawsuit.
Google SketchUp: Now For Macs
Google just released the first Mac version of Google SketchUp. The Mac version is for the older PowerPC systems (no Universal Binary yet) and requires OS X 10.3 and an OpenGL graphics card. It also only works with the latest version of Google Earth (version 4). SketchUp is an excellent 3D modeling program, and will do a great job extending the capabilities of your Mac. Download it here.
Larry’s Pics Left Out There
Philipp found Larry Page’s Picasa Web Album. Turns out there are no real privacy settings for PicWeb, just “public” and “unlisted”, and unlisted just invites you to guess the URL. That’s not the best way of handling online photos, many of which people don’t want to share with the rest of the world.
Maybe I’ll be heading to a few people’s PicWeb collections and try seeing if there is a “xxx” or “nudity” album? Page’s photos were far more innocent, and have been removed, but hopefully this taught the Google founder that, in the future, don’t release products without some real privacy options.
Wow, has it really been a week? I finally got an internet connection on my honeymoon, so I can finally blog for the first time in a week. Sorry, but I have been enjoying myself…
Two lessons about marriage: It is surprisingly happy, and surprisingly hard. You find these amazing moments where something fun or great happens, and you smile a little, and then you realize that the person that created that moment isn’t going anywhere, and you can always count on that. And there are moments were something difficult happens, and you realize you’ve commited to a lifetime of it.
It isn’t always easy, but, so far, it has been completely worth it.
Okay, so, how about some stories? I’ve got 12,000 Bloglines items, so time to get going…
Google And Baidu Split
Google has cut out of its 2.6% share in Chinese search engine Baidu. Last year, Google bought into Baidu as a way to ensure itself some sort of foothold in China, when there was no controversial Google China site and Google.com was getting blocked in that country. As Valleywag says, “Google finally realized that enemies don’t make the best bedfellows”. I’m not sure the investment was ever that good of an idea, and I hope Google at least made a few bucks on the deal.
Eric Schmidt’s Getting Married?
Valleywag also says that it is common gossip that Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife “are on the outs”, but they’ve also received a tip that Schmidt’s girlfriend Marcy Simon (a PR consultant) has been seen wearing a very fancy engagement ring. Not sure whether to feel sorry for one marriage, happy for the new one, but I do hope that, if it is true, Marcy talks some PR pillow talk to Eric. Google could use a wee bit more influence from PR.
Google News Now In Arabic
Aren’t you glad I didn’t devote an entire post to this? Yes, the entire story is in the headline. Oh, here’s a link to a news story, the Google Blog post, and a link to the service. See, I won’t waste your time trying to pretend there is more to say in this story.
Ah screw it: There are over 500 news sources. Ow, it burns!
Google AutoLink Patent
SEO By The Sea found a Google patent application filed in late 2004 for the AutoLink technology used in the Google Toolbar. If you like technical stuff, it explains how AutoLink works under the hood (it involves stripping out all the formatting and analyzing the content for words related to addresses, phone numbers flight information and other things).
Yahoo Sued For Google Ad Buy
The latest company getting sued for buying trademarked terms on Google is, surprisingly, Yahoo. Yahoo and three other companies have been sued by lovecity.com for buying keywords containing the term “lovecity”. The companies in the suit all bought ads on searches for lovecity, a dating site, in order to advertise their own sites. The case is clear-cut enough that all are likely to turn up losing.
Orkut Worm Steals Banking Credentials
A worm, targeted at Brazilian users of Google’s Orkut social networking service, was attempting to steal user’s banking credentials. The worm was aimed at gaining access to Brazilian bank accounts, since over 70% of Orkut’s users are Brazilian.
The worm, dubbed MW.Orc, primarily targets Brazilian users of Google’s Orkut Web site. It uses a message in Portuguese to entice people to click on a file that is disguised as a JPEG image, FaceTime Security Labs said in a statement.
The initial file, called “minhasfotos.exe,” creates two additional files on a user’s system, “winlogon_.jpg” and “wzip32.exe,” FaceTime said. When the user, after the initial compromise, clicks on the “My Computer” icon in Windows XP, an e-mail with his or her personal data is sent to the anonymous attacker, the security company said.
Additionally, the compromised computer may be added to a network of hijacked PCs, known as a botnet. The pest also tries to propagate by placing a malicious link on the profiles of people in the Orkut user’s network, FaceTime said.
Google reportedly had a fix within an hour, with work on more permanent solutions.
Marissa’s Notions Of Innovation
BusinessWeek printed Marissa Mayers’s nine notions of innovation. Naturally, Valleywag poked fun at all of them.
Can we please stop using “notion” anymore?
In the latest Google Toolbar for IE, you can easily bookmark pages from the toolbar by starring it. Then when you write in the search box it will try to match up your terms with some of your bookmarks. It can also find matches from your search history. It seems to have a bit of trouble with partial matching, meaning matching what you write with part of a word. It can match the beginning of a word, and it can match part of a word that is a made up of a few words (like BlogNewsChannel). Results are marked with “Bookmarks” or “History” next to them, and separated from the suggestions below that use Google Suggest technology.
Your bookmarks are easily accessible from any computer and they can be accessed through your Google account here. I’ll be waiting for this to come to the Firefox toolbar. The feature makes finding bookmarks easier, though the word you are looking for must actually be in the bookmark. They don’t check for the theme of the bookmark. That seems like something Ask.com might be able to do one day.
Google has quietly updated their Internet Explorer Toolbar 4, announcing on the front page that it “Now supports IE7″. That’s right, ladies and gents of the early adopter world: You can now safely install the toolbar without having anything to worry about with Microsoft’s latest beta browser.
In addition, the toolbar has some bug fixes, and a slightly more polished look with some UI tweaks. Also, the toolbar’s bookmark feature can now import all your IE bookmarks, giving you a great way to get started building a Google Search History bookmark list, if you haven’t already.
To remind those who didn’t install the last beta, the big new features in this beta toolbar: You can add custom search buttons for basically any type of search that exists. You get a Google Suggest-type search box with deeper search suggestions, spell correction and search history. You can send pages to Blogger, Gmail or SMS.
The new Toolbar is 643 kb, 16k larger than the previous version of Toolbar 4, meaning they did some good fixes and additions, but pretty efficiently. The new version is 4.0.629.4924.
Yeah, I’m clearing out some old tabs, don’t complain. A judge has allowed a lawsuit against Google complaining patent infringement in the Google Toolbar to proceed. Netjumper’s patent has something to do with retrieving information via a web browser, and I’d be interested in more details, especially why its Google’s, and not all the other search toolbars, that is being sued.
An Internet Explorer update released earlier this week can interfere with some applications, including Google’s Toolbar, according to PatchLink, a maker of patch management software.
Other applications affected by the Web browser patch include business software from Oracle’s Siebel customer relationship management unit and certain Web applications that use specific versions of Java, PatchLink said Friday.
The problems arise because of changes Microsoft made to how the Web browser handles Web programs called ActiveX controls. The modifications are designed to shield Microsoft from liability in a high-profile patent dispute with Eolas Technologies and the University of California.
Perhaps sensing that IE7 is not so toolbar-friendly, Yahoo has issued an update to its IE5/6 toolbar that gives “Old Leaky” some tabbed browsing. There’s also a new version of the Firefox toolbar, as well as new “Add to del.icio.us” buttons. Gotta love that corporate synergy. Read more at the Yahoo search blog.
And yes, it’s “Old Leaky” for security reasons. Leave me alone. I’m not even really here.
It is a very easy thing for people to add custom buttons to their Google Toolbar (the Internet Explorer version). Well, it’s a totally different thing entirely to coerce your readers into adding your site to their toolbar. Thankfully, there’s a WordPress plugin that puts one of those neat triangles in the top right-hand corner of your blog that reads “Add My Blog! Google Toolbar”
With a come-on like that, who can resist!
Dude, it was a rhetorical question.
What is wrong with you?
That was rhetorical, too!
Well, I’m on vacation, but Scoble says I have to be part of “the conversation”, so I’m having one with myself.
Dude, you just totally ruined a perfectly good blog post.
I hate you.
(via Higher-Profits > Digg)
Google has released the second version of its Firefox toolbar. New features are:
- Google Suggest-like auto-completing search box (previously available as an extension)
- You can now replace the Firefox search box with Google’s
- Phishing site detection, like IE’s Phishing Filter
- RSS feed autodetection, with the option to add feeds to your Google Personalized Homepage, Bloglines, Firefox Live Bookmarks, My Yahoo, Newsgator or Pluck
- Firefox’s mailto: links can open up a compose window in Gmail
Did I mention that I will always hate the way Firefox installs things?
I installed the toolbar, and it seems solid. Its good and customizable, and the layout options are a nice addition. The Google blog says:
As a dedicated Firefox user, I think that the latest version enhances an already innovative browser. Meanwhile, you IE Toolbar 4 fans may notice that the feature sets aren’t identical. That’s because Firefox and IE users have different needs. Rest assured that we’re working to get the most popular features in both versions.
Google shares slipped $17 on reports that Google was thinking of paying a billion dollars to Dell to bundle its software. Under the plan, Dell would preinstall Google’s Toolbar and Desktop suite on 100 million computers, with Google paying as much as $1 billion over three years in fees. The Journal explains one of Google’s other deals, with HP:
Google pays it $1 for every PC that ships with a Google toolbar — a strip that sits atop a browser and enables users to easily operate Google’s search engine — and another 75 cents the first time a home-computer user taps the service, says a person familiar with the matter.
We can say all we want about viral marketing and how great the Google brand is, but if Google has to pay a billion freakin’ dollars, then maybe that whole word-of-mouth thing isn’t working as much as we’d like to thing. Google prides itself on growing out of quality, but it looks like installations of its software aren’t reaching the levels they expected. I never thought I’d see the day where Google had to buy customers.
This is exactly the sort of thing we’d expect from Microsoft, but we get it from Google. I can only hope that at least the deal is only for Windows XP PCs, as Google’s desktop search and sidebar in Vista would just be redundant and confusing to users.
As you can see in the snippets below, it looks like this all happened after a bidding war with Microsoft. Is it possible Microsoft’s new strategy is to get Google to “win” bidding wars and tear through its war chest as quickly as possible? Together with the AOL deal, aggressive bidding with Microsoft has cost Google five billion dollars, or 82% of its entire revenue for 2005.
Considering the same software Google is paying a billion dollars for will be on ever Vista PC, the only real loser here is AskJeeves, which previously had a similar deal with Dell.
Bob Kaufman, a spokesman for Dell, the world’s leading personal computer maker, said his company is evaluating Google software that PC customers could use to search both the public Web and for local information stored on their PCs.
“We can confirm that we are running a test with Google that could include a Google-powered Dell home page, Google desktop search and a Google Toolbar,” Kaufman told Reuters.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said Dell and Google are in talks to put Google software on as many as 100 million new Dell PCs following a bidding process in which Google edged out Microsoft and after Yahoo Inc. withdrew.
By some estimates, for Google to win broad product placement for its search software on major PC makers could require it to jack up customer acquisition costs by hundreds of millions of dollars from nearly zero now, analysts said.
“Where do you find almost 90% gross margins?” Hoefer & Arnett analyst Martin Pyykkonen asked, referring to Google’s current highly profitable business. “If it costs you more to acquire traffic, it could hurt margins,” he said.
Older Dell products used MyWay as the default search provider. The change to Google will probably kill off about 1/2 to 1/3 of Ask Jeeves reach.
The Wall Street Journal also notes that on top of Google wanting to load up their software they also want the default search box in Dell’s Internet Explorer browsers to point at Google
Devin Reams notices that Google’s Firefox Send To SMS extension reserves the right to log all of your text messages, and I’ve checked, and the same policy applies to a similar feature in Toolbar 4.
From the Firefox Send to Phone FAQ:
When you send a message using Google Send to Phone, Google will receive and log the IP address [?] and one or more cookies from the computer you are using, as well as information about the mobile phone you are sending to, including the phone’s telephone number and carrier. In addition, we might also log the text of the message you send, in order to investigate and correct technical problems with the service.
In the Privacy Practices entry of the Send To feature on the new Toolbar:
If you send text through SMS using Send To feature of the Google Toolbar, Google logs the number and carrier the message is sent to, and in some cases may record the text sent for debugging purposes.
I can understand logging the carrier number and a few details of random text messages for debugging purposes, but I can’t imagine what is accomplished by logging whole text messages. Seems like Google is just covering all its bases in case it wants to collect more of its precious “information”.
I had to make a decision today, and I believe I made the right one. Since I installed the Google Toolbar version 4, IE7 has been wonky. Mainly, submenus have not been rendering properly. I would hit Alt, click View, hover over Toolbars, and the submenu would not appear until I put my mouse within the menu.
I assumed the recent installation of the Google Toolbar was to blame (I’ve been running IE7 longer than most, so I’ve had time to examine its quirks; this was a new one). I disabled Google’s toolbar, and got nowhere, the problem remained. I uninstalled the Toolbar, and it went away.
Considering that IE7 will eventually be a major permanent part of Windows, it has a search bar anyway, and it improves system-wide security, I weighed my options and decided that was more important than Toolbar 4’s features, excellent as they are.
Is anyone else running IE7 having the same problems, and does this solve them? TDavid had terrible black blocks in his IE7, and the only thing I see in the screenshots is a custom skin, the new Google Toolbar and the Alexa Toolbar.
I’ll reinstall when Google fixes the issue. I already miss it, but I’ll live. And I’d miss IE7 more.
Nowadays, when you buy a PC from Dell (or most major manufacturers) you have to reformat and reinstall to get the full performance of the hardware, as the default installation comes packed with oodles of bloatware. For example, when I reformated my recently purchased Dell Inspiron 6000, I gained 200 megabytes of RAM on boot.
Well, Google’s latest move should convince more people to notice the bundled software, as it is testing a deal with Dell to put two Google features pre-installed on new laptops and desktops. From eWeek:
For now, some Dell laptops and desktop computers are sold with two Google Inc. search features pre-installed, a Dell spokesman said.
Dell is also putting the paces to a Google-powered Web site that appears to be a hybrid of Dell’s online store and Google’s personalized Web site.
So, what “features” are we talking about here? The obvious ones are the Toolbar and Desktop suite, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what it is. Also, I suspect the personalized Dell page is the start page on those systems. Considering how the Desktop (search) suite hurts performance every bit as much as it helps productivity, I’m hoping Dell is only installing it on systems with at a minimum half a gig of RAM.
I’ve never liked bundling, I’ve gotten into it before. It’s good for Google to get this exposure, so I’m happy for them, and its certainly better than the crap Dell usually installs, but its still bundling.
(via Andy Beal)
Forget waiting for your favorite website to create a Google Toolbar button, Matt Cutts shows you how to make your own. Its really simple, just right-click in a search box on any website and click “Generate Custom Search…” and you get your button. It even grabs the page’s favicon for the button. You can go in afterwords and use the custom button editor to hand edit the XML and change any search parameters, creating all sorts of wild and crazy searches. I just added a button to search my own Bloglines subscriptions.