Today 12-5-2011 is the debut of the new look of the Google toolbar. The new navigation bar which display’s a left hand drop down menu as opposed to links across the top, is a new take on how we will interact with our favorite search engine. The first link is “You”, the link which has been promoting the new social network Google+ for the past several months. Google has made a huge push with Google+ recently by incorporating the new social network into everything they can, including YouTube, the worlds second largest search engine. 5th from the top in the new toolbar, is the link “YouTube”. YouTube recently got a new design and some other features as well, including a big emphasis on social by incorporating videos posted from Google+.
Mostly the new toolbar provides the same links as before, just with a new look. Now it’s a drop down menu which ultimately, I feel, gets in the way. It seems to clutter up the page now. If you go to the bottom of the drop down and hover over the “more” link a sub navigation pane opens covering even more search “real estate”. However, you can now see more of your favorite Google apps without ever leaving the search results page and maybe this is what Google had in mind?
Or maybe it was just time for a change. The new look is definitely an update to a more modern Internet feel. And as we know, the Internet is accessed more and more simply by apps. So a push to more prominently display applications seems to make sense.
Other additions to the new toolbar seem to occur as you interact with the category links. For example, the news link takes you to the same Google News section, but there are some cool new features within the news section, such as “personalize Google news”. There’s a 60 second video showing you what this is about and it’s really neat. You can adjust the amount of news you receive by using a slider bar. Pick the category and adjust how often you would like to receive updates from that particular topic. You can also add any news topic you are interested in to your news feed. Good bye Google alerts? Probably not. But now you can get news on anything you are interested in right from the Google News section. I like this feature a lot.
Maps is pretty much the same save for the little link at the bottom asking if you want to try something new. Click this link and you are given information on Maps GL a new experimental map from Google, I haven’t used it yet but it claims you are able to:
“View 3D buildings and seamless 45° aerial view rotations and ‘Swoop’ quickly from the map view to Street View imagery, without a plugin.”
Ultimately it appears to be an improvement on how we search and interact with the web. Google has made tremendous effort to bring local information and now social information to our search results. With more people using location based apps and including everything in their social networking, it appears they are moving in the right direction. Thanks Google. Check out the new Google Toolbar for yourself and see what it’s all about.