Friday, February 11, 2005

Yahoo! Releases FireFox Toolbar


Yahoo! Releases FireFox Toolbar

Author: Jeremy C. Wright, Staff Writer
Thursday, 10 February 2005, 17:38 GMT
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Yahoo Inc has launched a version of its popular toolbar for FireFox, the world’s most popular open source browser. As of today, users will be able to download the beta version of the product free of charge and it will include most of the features currently available in the version available for Microsoft’s popular Internet Explorer browser.

The release of the toolbar is a sign of the growing adoption of FireFox not just amongst the technically able, but by a more widespread audience. Until recently, FireFox – like many open source applications – suffered from a catch-22 type of scenario: without software, mainstream users wouldn’t flock to the new browser, but without mainstream users larger software companies wouldn’t write software for the browser.

To plug that gap, the FireFox community itself has been doing a large amount of development in extending the browser, writing plugins and creating support apps hoping for the day when larger toolbars and plugins that are used by millions will be ported to the new browser.

Moves by companies like Yahoo to port their toolbars and consumer products to the new browser platform remove yet another barrier that users may have before adopting the most prominent competitor to Microsoft’s IE browser.

The initial toolbar is available only for Windows, though, and will not include Yahoo’s antispyware application which was added to IE’s toolbar late last year. Yahoo is planning to release versions of the toolbar, including all of the advanced features available to IE’s toolbar, for Mac OS X and Linux “shortly”.

Yahoo is the first major search engine to support FireFox with its toolbar. Google, Microsoft and Ask Jeeves all provide toolbars which are tied exclusively to IE.

Yahoo’s toolbar includes features that will let users create bookmarks and custom buttons, to search within an opened Web site, view past searches and to add a site's available RSS or Atom feed to My Yahoo. The toolbar provides links into a range of Yahoo services beyond Web search, including Yahoo Mail and Yahoo News.

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