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Google readies its toolbar for Firefox

Free toolbar, available tomorrow, matches IE version

Google's new toolbar for The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser, containing almost all of the features found in Google's toolbar for Microsoft's Internet Explorer, will be available tomorrow, according to a company official.

You can download the free toolbar from Google from about 5pm today.

The Firefox toolbar will have all of the features found on the IE toolbar except for two that are already included in the Firefox browser: a pop-up blocker and browse-by-name functionality, which lets users jump to a website by entering its name rather than its web address.

Among the features in the new Firefox toolbar are a box for conducting Google searches; an "auto-fill" button that, with a single click, will populate a web form with the user's address and credit card information; a spelling checker; and a word translator.

Google will continue to link to the Mozdev.org page (where the open-source Googlebar toolbar can be downloaded), leaving it up to users to decide whether they want to use both products or just one of them.

The two toolbars have a set of features in common, but each has its own unique features, too. The Googlebar was developed by a community of open-source programmers not affiliated with Google.

The Google toolbar for Firefox will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Japanese and Korean. The product will run on any operating system that Firefox runs on.

In addition to the toolbar, Google is making available two extensions to Firefox. One lets users highlight text on a web page and send it to a mobile device via SMS (short message service). The other one adds the Google Suggest query-refinining capability to Firefox's own search box.

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