New Google toolbar gives Firefox a Chrome look

Using beta 2 of Google's Toolbar 5, opening new tabs shows your most viewed pages, just like Chrome.

Google released a second beta of its toolbar software for Firefox that gives the browser a prominent feature of Google's own Chrome.

In Chrome, when you open a new tab, the browser displays a page with up to nine miniature versions of pages you visit often--a selection of what you've shown to be your collective home page. The new beta version of Toolbar 5 does the same for Firefox, including not just the miniature pages, but also the list of recent bookmarks and recently closed tabs that Chrome shows.

There are still no ads, though, which I wonder about given Google's new interest in improving its profitability.

Firefox can inherit Chrome's new-tab behavior using a new beta of the Google Toolbar.
Firefox can inherit Chrome's new-tab behavior using a new beta of the Google Toolbar. Google

According to Google toolbar programmer Sergey Ryazanov's blog post on the subject, you can select the specific pages you want, and none of the information is sent back to Google.

I've found the new-tab behavior of Chrome handy, especially when I first launch the browser. It presents me with nine pages, and I middle-click on the ones I happen to want at that particular moment. It's still probably not enough for me to install the toolbar, though, since I hate bloat and the lost real estate of browsers. And Firefox can be set with multiple-tab home pages anyway.

Ryazanov warns that the feature doesn't work with Firefox 2 and may conflict with other Firefox extensions. It's curious he didn't mention Chrome in the post, though, especially given how proud Google is of its Chrome user interface research.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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