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Yahoo Releases a New and Updated Toolbar

June 18, 2009

Yahoo released a new toolbar today for IE and Firefox which lets you add icons for your favorite Yahoo apps and Websites. When you click on the icons, you get a drop-down preview of your favorite sites, mail, stock quotes, or news feeds without having to go to those sites directly. It is only real-time in that you can check for the latest updates without going to those sites. From the Yahoo blog:

The new Yahoo! Toolbar now offers greater customization and more immediate access to the information you care about most from across the entire web – not just Yahoo! sites. Currently available if you’re using Internet Explorer 6+ and now for Firefox (as a beta), too, our new toolbar also helps you do some really handy things, including:

  • Preview and Go: Most of us have sites we check every day –- sometimes more than once. Now you can preview information from your favorite sites directly within your toolbar. Small previews drop down from your toolbar, giving you real-time information without ever having to leave the page you’re on. Customize your toolbar with dozens of apps from Yahoo! and across the rest of the web, so you can check on your multiple email inboxes (Yahoo! and AOL), your eBay listings, the latest news from People.com or USA Today, stock portfolios, and even your local weather or movie showtimes.
  • Search Faster: One of the most popular features on toolbars is search. So, we’ve created a better, more efficient way for you to conduct web searches (with the help of some cool technology from Inquisitor). The search box in your Yahoo! Toolbar now offers query suggestions, recall of sites based on your recent search history, and the ability to directly search other web sites, like Flickr and Wikipedia — right from the search box. It’s a real time saver!

The toolbar is completely customizable, so you add from a large Websites or apps you want to keep handy. But if it really wants to be real-time, Yahoo needs to make it easier for you to preview your personal activity stream across sites. Other add-ons such as Friendbar try the streaming ticker approach, which I find a bit too distracting. But perhaps a drop-down stream preview or built-in notifications when new items appear in your stream (whether that is Twitter, Facebook, or something else) would be preferable (at least to me).

Yahoo also made search faster from the toolbar, incorporating some search assist technology from its Inquisitor acquisition. It suggests refined queries as you begin typing and sites that you’ve clicked on in the past.

Download and see more information on the new Yahoo Toolbar here!

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