This past week was an emotional time for some users as the original Google Toolbar for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was discontinued. Oddly enough, December 11th was the toolbar’s 21st birthday, and even though it was no longer being updated to our knowledge, Google left it running all these years. Ars Technica discovered that it had been shuttered upon attempting to install it. Actually, Ron Amadeo was able to do so for a bit right before it was taken offline, and he spent some time reviewing it before the plug was pulled.
If you visit Google Toolbar’s webpage right now, you’re redirected to the Google Support article for Toolbar showing that it’s been discontinued. In the same breath, Google took the opportunity to push users who came looking for answers in Internet Explorer towards Chrome – the “best of the web”. An appropriate burn, I think, considering all of Microsoft’s latest insults towards Google.
Google Toolbar sat at the top of the old school IE browser before Edge took over, and provided a search bar (IE only accepted URLs, not search queries!), page translation with Google Translate, a share button for Google+ so you could let everyone in your circles know what you were enjoying across the web, pop-up blocking, autofill, and more. Today, all of these features and more are baked directly into Chrome, and even Edge (aside from Google+ sharing because, well, it doesn’t exist anymore), so the mere idea of the toolbar feels antiquated.
With that being said, Ron tried to see how useful the toolbar was for its birthday, and as you can see in his hilarious image below, it’s practically unusable since most of the services and tools it featured are no longer supported. Frankly, I’m shocked that Google left it running for so freaking long, but I’m glad to see them cleaning house again. Let me know in the comments if you used Google Toolbar up until this past week or so.