Google is offering up a second beta of its toolbar for the Firefox browser. The new version has several new features, including a new tab page.I downloaded and installed the new version of Google's toolbar to test out the new features. The first thing I noticed was some flightiness in the browser and instability. I am running FF3.0.5 on this machine. After some initial weirdness, it seemed to settle down.
The feature that Toolbar Team software engineer Sergey Ryazanov is most excited about is the new tab page. Rather than see a blank page when you open a new tab in Firefox, it will show you a set of thumbnails of your favorite pages. This sort of emulates what Opera's Speed Dial does, and there's even a plug-in available for Firefox that does the same thing. You'll also be able to see other sites that you've recently visited or bookmarked.
It's actually pretty cool. I like the way you can jump to this set of favorite pages. The one problem I saw is that the nine sites Google automatically choose to add to this feature are nine tabs that I already have open. In other words, I'll need to tweak it a bit to get it to be more useful.
And that's the good news. All of this is completely user configurable, and none of the data is sent back to Google. That means your information remains yours.
This new tabbing feature doesn't work with Firefox 2, so you'll have to upgrade to at least 3.0 if you want to use it.
Other new features include:
* Reach your most-visited sites by opening a new tab in your browser. * Add gadgets to your Toolbar to view your favorite content from any site. * Access your Toolbar from any computer by saving your settings online. * Get suggestions instead of error pages for broken links or mistyped web addresses.