Google Toolbar 4 Beta
- Intuitive search options, Type ahead helper, Bookmark portability
- Have to enter bookmarks one at a time, can be a little intrusive at times.
The type-ahead search helper, easy-to-add shortcuts to popular sites, and other useful innovations keep Google the toolbar of choice for Internet Explorer users.
Lately it seems as if everybody and their second cousin have attempted to follow Google's example by cobbling together a browser toolbar. Most of these shortcut collections do little more than push the page content farther below the virtual fold and replace it with a string of ads to the company's sites and services (the Yahoo Toolbar is a prime example of this approach). But it's clear to us, based on using the beta of Google Toolbar 4, that the first is still the best.
Topping the list of this version's new features is type-ahead help in the search text box. In typical Google fashion, the search-term helper is simple, elegant, and useful: As you enter text, a small window pops open below the box, listing popular search terms beginning with those letters. The toolbar remembers past searches, too, and lists them here when appropriate.
Significant search suggestions
Previously, we never felt the need for help when conjuring our search phrases; but several times while testing the new toolbar we chose one of Google's suggestions over what we had intended to type, and were happy with the result.
For example, while looking for recent articles on anti-spam software, we intended to search for 'spam filters' but saw the more-appropriate term 'spam blockers' among the search helper's suggestions. We chose it from the list and found the article we needed among the first three results. Evidently even old searchers can learn a few new tricks.
Then again, you might find the suggestions intrusive, or you might not like having your search history recorded. You can disable both of these options via the toolbar's Search Box Settings: Click Settings>Options>Features>Search Box Settings, and uncheck the bottom two options.
Google hosts bookmarks
The buttons that appear by default are those for Google services; Google bookmarks (more on these below); the pop-up blocker; the spell checker; the language translator (which is grayed out until you choose a language via the Settings dialog box); AutoLink (which converts URLs and physical addresses on the page into clickable links, the former leading to Google Maps); AutoFill, for entering forms data automatically; Send To, for transmitting pages via e-mail, blog, or SMS (more on this below as well); and Highlight, to call out each instance of your search term on the page.
If you're dissatisfied with the array of shortcut buttons on the toolbar, you can add or remove them individually via the Toolbar Options dialog box (click Settings>Options>Buttons). You can even use the Google API to create your own shortcut buttons for favorite sites; the company offers instructions.
You can also keep things simple by adding buttons for Slashdot.org, The New York Times, CBS Sportsline.com, and other popular sites with one click via the Google Toolbar Button Gallery. You'll find that it's easier than ever to add and remove shortcuts to Google Video, Gmail, and other Google sites and services: Just choose them from the new menu that pops out of the toolbar's Google section.
Several services let you store your browser bookmarks on their servers so you can access them from any computer. Google Toolbar 4 offers this same bookmark portability (a Gmail or other Google account is required). Unfortunately, you have to enter your bookmarks one at a time, but adding them to the toolbar's list lets you assign keywords to them to make them easier to sort and organize. Your bookmarks will also be available via the Search History link on your Google account page.
Anyone who frequently sends Web pages to others via e-mail or SMS will appreciate the toolbar's new Send To feature. Gmail is currently the only e-mail option, and Google's Blogger is the only choice included for posting a link to the current page in a blog, but you can send the page via SMS to any messaging-enabled cell phone. Be aware, however, that -- though you can send SMS messages for free via the toolbar -- your carrier may charge you to receive them.
Translation capability still there
One toolbar feature that isn't new with this release but that we have come to appreciate only recently is the WordTranslator. When this button is active, you'll see a translation of the words you hover the mouse pointer over in the language of your choice. The languages currently supported are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Itallian, German, and Spanish.
As a language aficionado, our reviewer got a big kick out of seeing the word translations pop up in a little yellow box whenever the pointer stops over text. It's not Berlitz, but ce n'est pas mal.
Join the newsletter!
Toys for Boys
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
WD_BLACK™ SN850 NVMe™ SSD
ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14
Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System
Sony Playstation 5
Theragun PRO Percussive Therapy Device
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush
Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch
Fujiflim Instax Square SQ1
Fender Fullerton Ukele
Garmin vívofit® jr. 2
MSI Modern 14
Dickie Toy Remote Control Mega Crane Set
Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player
Kindle Paperwhite eReader (10th Gen)
MSI GE66 Dragonshield Limited Edition
SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 2 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
- 4 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
- 5 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Google smart displays get sticky notes for family members
- Optus to take the lag out of gaming
- Echo family reimagined, inside and out
- Google smart displays now let you take charge of multi-room audio
- Recently squashed Alexa bug could have allowed hackers access to voice histories, researchers say
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- How the Xbox Series X (and xCloud) saved me from buying a gaming PC
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies