Gone: Google Toolbar (2000-2021)
By Roger Cheng
For both better and worse, the internet landscape moves fast. Shortening attention spans and memories all over the world. But every once in a while, we get a reminder of what once was. [Ron Amadeo] of Ars Technica fired up a Google product of year 2000 in Take one last look at Google Toolbar, which is now dead.
Today it’s hard to find an operating system that does not bundle a web browser. But back then, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was so dominant, the browser’s inclusion in Windows led to an antitrust lawsuit. Trying to get out from under IE’s shadow, many internet companies grabbed a toehold on users’ computers by installing a toolbar. (The comments thread on that Ars Technica article includes some horrific screenshots of mass toolbar infestation.)
Take the best of Google everywhere on the web!
Google was just one company among many fighting for finite real estate, using Toolbar to circumvent Microsoft and redirect people to Google properties. In their efforts to entice users to install, Google promised capabilities that are now hilariously out of date, like integration with a wide swath of also-dead Google products. On the flip side there were some features that were nice while it lasted, like a single toggle to turn off all telemetry sent back to Google. Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice today?
Google now has its own Chrome browser, enjoying the kind of dominance Internet Explorer once had. With Microsoft itself leaving IE behind, there’s no longer any reason for Google Toolbar to exist. So, Google pulled the plug just before it turned 21 years old. Farewell Google Toolbar, we’ll remember you for… five minutes, tops.
December 17, 2021 at 04:00AM
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