Google readies toolbar for Firefox

Google has developed a version of its browser toolbar for Firefox.

Google has developed a toolbar for The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser that contains almost all the features found in Google's toolbar for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, according to a company official.

The free toolbar will be available for download on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. US Eastern Time from http://toolbar.google.com, along with two free extensions for Firefox, which users will be able to download from http://labs.google.com, said Sundar Pichai, product manager of client software at Google.

The Firefox toolbar will have all features found on the IE toolbar, except for two that are already in the Firefox browser: a pop-up blocker and a "browse by name" functionality, which takes users to a Web site without having to enter the site's address, just its name, he said.

Features in the Firefox toolbar include a box for conducting Google searches, an "auto fill" button that with a single click populates Web forms with the user's address and credit card information, a spell checker and a word translator, he said.

Google will continue to link to the Mozdev.org page (http://googlebar.mozdev.org/) where the open source Googlebar toolbar can be downloaded, leaving it up to users to decide whether they want to use both products or opt for one of them, he said. The two toolbars have a set of features in common, but some features are in one and not the other, and vice versa. The Googlebar was developed by a community of open source programmers not affiliated with Google.

The Google toolbar for Firefox will be available in the following languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Japanese and Korean, he said. The product will run on all the operating systems Firefox runs on, he said.

In addition to the toolbar, Google, is also making available two extensions to Firefox. One lets users highlight text on a Web page and send it to a mobile device via SMS (short message service). The other one adds the Google Suggest query-refinining capability to Firefox's own search box.

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