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Google celebrates eight years of toolbar with new IE version

Google Toolbar is about to turn eight years old. There's not an entirely new version, but a nice update for IE users that throws in a bunch of good stuff from the Firefox beta.

If you've used a computer in the last decade, no doubt you've come face to face with the Google Toolbar. A Dell computer I bought a few years back came with both the toolbar and Google's desktop search program pre-installed. Also, an obscene amount of software comes with it as an optional add-on in the installation process since Google pays referrers a fat $1 per new user.

Next month, Google's toolbar turn eight years old and to celebrate, the company has launched a brand-new version for Internet Explorer, which brings it up to speed with last month's beta release for Firefox users.

Of all of the features, my personal favorite is the updated autofill system. This lets you have separate autofill profiles, which can be changed on the fly. This is useful if you're planning to use the toolbar at work, since you can keep one set of information for personal use (e.g. usernames, addresses, phone numbers), and another for business. It can also follow you from browser to browser as long as you're logged in with your Google credentials.

Other big changes include the introduction of gadgets, which users can affix to the top of their browser and summon with a click. It also throws in Web bookmark sync, and the updated sharing button, which lets you send entire pages to friends via SMS or without having to use an e-mail account.

Google's put together a pretty neat shot of how the toolbar has progressed since its introduction, which I've pasted below.

As the years have gone by Google has relied less on words as much as more recognizable icons. (click to enlarge) Google Inc.