Google Ceases Support For Firefox Toolbar

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Google says that future versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser will not support its the Google toolbar

Google’s announcement, that Firefox 5 and forthcoming versions of the Mozilla browser will not support the Google toolbar, has been met with a dismayed reaction from users.

In a blog post dated 19 July, Google said that innovation in the browser space in recent years has made the toolbar redundant.

“For Firefox users, many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox are now already built right into the browser,” the company stated. “Therefore, while Google Toolbar for Firefox works on versions up to and including Firefox 4 only, it will not be supported on Firefox 5 and future versions.”

No more site search

In a more detailed Help Center article on the change, Google explains that many of the functions previously offered with Google toolbar are now available as Firefox add-ons. These include auto-fill, page translation, spellcheck, page sharing and bookmarks, among others.

However, as we at eWEEK Europe were devastated to discover, the lack of a toolbar makes it much harder to carry out site-specific searches, or other filtered searches.

For sites with a poorly implemented search box, you can no longer rely on Google site search to help you find the page you want. And performing a quick image or news search is now difficult without first visiting the Google homepage.

The Google blog has been bombarded with comments by users expressing their disappointment, many of whom interpret the decision as a move by Google to push its own Chrome browser. Others have called on Google to release the toolbar under open source license, so that someone else can become the new maintainer for the add-on.

In spite of the decision to abandon Google toolbar for Firefox, the company only last month released a new version of its toolbar for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, offering “easier manoeuvrability” and a new way to report toolbar issues.

Chrome creeps up on Firefox

The news comes as Google’s Chrome browser continues to gain market share at the expense of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. According to StatCounter, Google claimed 20.7 percent browser share for June, creeping up on Firefox at 28.3 percent. Royal Pingdom crunched some numbers and guessed Chrome could pass Firefox this November and Internet Explorer by June 2012.

Last week Google announced it was shutting down its Google Labs site, which hosts the company’s experimental projects. The company’s senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure, Bill Coughran, said “greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead”.

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