Introducing Google Toolbar Labs with Two New Features
Article by George Norman
On 27 Apr 2009
Google Labs, the place where Google software developers come up with innovative ideas in their “20% time” (the one day per week when they get to work on something that is not job related), has now become a part of Google Toolbar, just as it has been a part of Gmail for quite some time now. Google Toolbar Labs will be a place where developers can play with new ideas, dream up new options and let the user put them to the test.

“One of the best things about working on the Google Toolbar team is that when someone says "Wouldn't it be great if Toolbar could...," our answer is usually "Yes! Let's build it!" And then it's just a question of when. To test these ideas more easily, today we're introducing Google Toolbar Labs. Just as Google Labs and Gmail Labs are playgrounds for new ideas, Toolbar Labs was built to get ideas out there quickly to see how you like them,” explain Aseem Sood and Susan Taing, Toolbar Product Team.


And to show that Google Toolbar Labs means business, two new offerings are already available: Google Toolbar with My Location and Google Toolbar in simplified Chinese. The last one is pretty much self explanatory, but I think a brief clarification is in order before we move on to - the Google Simplified Chinese Toolbar, as the name so adequately points out, is a toolbar customized for Chinese speaking users. The toolbar allows users to translate any webpage into 40 different languages, manage their bookmarks in a new sidebar and add gadgets according to their needs and preferences.

Moving on, Aseem Sood and Susan Taing explain what Google Toolbar with My Location is al about: “With Toolbar with My Location, both Google Maps and the included Maps gadget automatically center on your current location. Similarly, you can just do a search like [thai food], and you will receive a list of nearby restaurants and more local Google search results. This feature is similar to IP-based local search results announced earlier this month, except Google Toolbar with My Location can determine a more accurate location by using nearby Wi-Fi access points. This is done without associating location information with a user's Google Account. Google Toolbar with My Location is only available in the U.S.”

There are some things that you need to keep in mind:
- Beta versions tend to be more stable that Labs versions because the latter are not as well tested.
- Google Toolbar Labs, for the time being, is available for Internet Explorer only.
- The best ideas presented via Google Toolbar Labs will eventually make their way to the standard Google Toolbar.

You can visit Google Toolbar Labs and get the two offerings by clicking this link.

Tags: Google, Google Labs, Google Toolbar, Internet Explorer
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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