Google Toolbar – what is it, why use it and is it safe?

What is Google Toolbar?

There are more than 70,000 Google searches each second, with 90% of internet searches across Europe taking place via Google. Search engines have transformed all of our lives, revolutionising the way we gather information.

Google Toolbar is a free, downloadable browser toolbar for the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. It allows users to perform many functions of the Google search engine, helping you find the information you want wherever you are on the web – instead of entering the search in the search engine’s URL or clicking on a favourite or bookmark, you simply enter the query in the search box.

Why use it?

As well as the convenience of being able to search from anywhere in the web, there are many other reasons to use Google Toolbar.

Find things faster

Google Toolbar makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for on any page. You can highlight search times, find specific words and even jump to relevant sections with three easy-to-use tools.

No language barriers

Language shouldn’t be a barrier to exploring the web. Google Toolbar will automatically offer to translate a page written in a foreign language.

Make your browser your own

Google Toolbar gives you easy access to your favourite sites with bookmarks, custom buttons, and a display designed to feature only the tools you actually use.

Block pop-ups

Google Toolbar is one of the best pop-up blockers circulating at the moment.

Enjoy Google Chrome features

For those who prefer a different browser than Google Chrome but would like to benefit from some of its features such as Translate or Autofill, Google Toolbar is a great solution.

Custom buttons

You can add your own custom buttons, which makes the toolbar all the more personal.

Google PageRank

You can get the Google PageRank for the current site.

Is it safe?

Although Google Toolbar can make your search experience quicker and easier, there are a number of watchouts to bear in mind.

  • Screen Space – More toolbars mean less space for the browser to display the current page content so make sure you limit the number of toolbars on your computer.
  • Performance – Each toolbar increases the amount of memory, which is used by the browser, consuming amounts of the computer’s physical RAM and slowing things down considerably – another reason to limit the number of toolbars.
  • Privacy – Even toolbars from reputable companies such as Google collect private data. If the computer belongs to a private intranet system, installing a toolbar is introducing a risk that PII could be compromised to the outside world.
  • Viruses and Malware – Toolbars can serve as an entry point into your system for a malware infection or a malware author may use a toolbar as a Trojan horse, concealing viruses inside the installation package. Ensure you have robust anti-virus software and look out for unusual signs such as your computer functioning slower than usual.

Interested in search engines, Google and how to keep web browsers safe, why not check out some of our other blogs?