Search Toolbar & Utility Reviews

Search toolbars and utilities let you search and navigate the web by using desktop software. A comprehensive list of these can be found in the Search Utilities section of Search Links. Below, you’ll find reviews of such tools. Please note that article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Recent Reviews

Monitoring Web Pages 24 Hours a Day
SearchDay, April 09, 2003

If you regularly visit web pages looking for new or updated information, you’ll save countless hours by automating the process with software that tracks changes for you — even while you sleep.

Google And The Big Brother Nomination
The Search Engine Report, April 2, 2003

With “advanced features” on, the Google Toolbar sends information about the page you are viewing in order to update its PageRank meter. When you installed the Google Toolbar, this fact was highlighted and an alternative for those concerned with privacy issues was offered. Nevertheless, some people still may not have realized that the toolbar monitors page viewing in this way. This article examines accusations that the toolbar is “spyware.”

Magnify Your Search Results
SearchDay, March 31, 2003

A software utility that grew out of visual perception research at Xerox’s famous PARC labs magnifies critical information on web pages, making it “pop out” and appear to float above the background.

GuruNet resource tool surpasses search engines
Wall St. Journal, March 9, 2003

GuruNet got some rave reviews for its ability to turn words on a page into links that brought back information from encyclopedia or search engines. This was literally last century, in 1999. But rave reviews don’t always translate into user adoption — and users seemed quite happy to keep going to search engines, rather than use GuruNet. The utility then suffered through a company and product name change and seemed abandoned, until being resurrected this month. Now the program has been expanded, given back its own name and again has a rave review, this time from the Wall Street Journal’s personal technology columnist Walter Mossberg. Will history repeat itself, with the tool unlikely to see wide adoption? Probably, especially with the new US $35 price tag. Also see this past SearchDay article about search companions like GuruNet.

A Visual Bookmark Manager
SearchDay, Feb. 12, 2003

NetVisualize Favorites Organizer is a bookmark manager with an interesting twist: In addition to storing URLs, it also captures a thumbnail image of each of your favorite pages.

Google Toolbar Alternatives
Pointeronline, Jan. 24, 2003

Use Netscape? Here are tips on accessing search engines directly from the URL box.

Library Lookup: A Simple but Powerful Search Tool
SearchDay, Jan. 9, 2003

Trying to decide whether to buy or borrow a book? Use the Library Lookup bookmarklet to instantly search your local library at the same time you’re viewing pages at any online bookstore.

Clearing Your Search History From Google And Other Search Engines
The Search Engine Report, Jan. 7, 2003

Ever gone to Google or another search engine using the Internet Explorer browser and noticed that some past searches you’ve performed were displayed below the search box? Don’t blame (or thank) the search engine. It’s your browser that’s keeping the record, and it’s one you may find yourself wishing to delete, from time to time. This article explores the procedures involved.

Visualizing the Web with Google
SearchDay, Jan. 8, 2003

The TouchGraph GoogleBrowser shows you what the web ‘looks like’ to the search engine, visually displaying the linkages between your favorite web sites.

Older Reviews

Search engine bulks up to handle Internet jungle
Detroit Free Press, Sept. 24, 2002

Mike Wendland comes away impressed with the latest version of Copernic’s meta search software, due out later this month

Do You Need a Search Toolbar?, July 24, 2002

Can’t keep track of all the various search engine toolbars out there. Here’s a guide to some of the more notable ones.

Teoma Offers Free Search Toolbar
SearchDay, June 25, 2002

Teoma has introduced the Teoma Search Bar, a free online navigational tool that lets you search while viewing any web page with Internet Explorer.

Beyond the Google Toolbar
SearchDay #311, July 15, 2002

UltraBar emulates the most powerful features of the Google toolbar and makes them available using virtually any search engine on the web — and it’s free.

Search the Web via IM
InstantMessaging Planet, April 17, 2002,,10817_1012411,00.html

Describes Googlematic, which lets you ask Google to send the top five results to a search from with AOL’s AIM client or from MSN Messenger.

Search Google Service Menu Item Now Available
Mac Observer, April 3, 2002

Mac OS X users can now search Google by selecting text, through a new background service.

Searching & Navigating Via Internet Explorer
The Search Engine Update, April 2, 2002

Everyone knows that the Internet Explorer browser lets you surf the web. But did you realize that Microsoft’s popular browser also has some powerful search capabilities built into it? This article explores how IE lets you search and navigate on the web.

An “X-Ray” Toolbar for Web Surfers
SearchDay, Nov. 19, 2001

The Alexa Toolbar aggregates all kinds of useful information about the site you’re currently viewing, from contact info to related sites and categories, available with a simple click of a link.

Build Your Own Portable, Personal Search Engine
SearchDay, Nov. 27, 2001

Take a page from Google’s playbook and create a searchable cache of important web pages with your own portable, personal search engine.

Fyuse: An Eclectic “My” Portal
SearchDay, Nov. 26, 2001

Fyuse takes the concepts of web-clipping, push-technology, affiliation and distributed content and encapsulates them into a slick, easy to use personalized portal customized to your tastes.

Search Engines with Autopilot
SearchDay, Nov. 14, 2001

If you’re often repeating the same query, you can both improve your results and take the drudgework out of searching by taking advantage of search engines that ‘fly’ on autopilot.

Intelliseek’s BullsEye Turns 3 With Grace Web Search Guide, Oct. 9, 2001

Review of the software-based search software BullsEye, which has meta search and invisible web search capabilities.

Bookmarks with Brawn
SearchDay, Oct. 4, 2001

Co-citer is a simple but powerful replacement for Internet Explorer’s wimpy ‘favorites’ manager — and best of all, it’s free.

Smarter Tools to Scour a Wider Web
Business Week, March 26, 2001

Review of four search companions for your desktop.

Where Did All the Bots Go?
ClickZ, Jan. 17, 2001

Every six months or so, someone comes out with a desktop search utility that’s supposed to be a search engine killer. There are rave reviews, then the product disappears. Personally, I don’t think users like add-ons that they must (1) download, which sometimes takes a long time and (2) may live apart from their browser.

Meta Search Packages Updated; BullsEye Made Free
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 3, 2000

Brief about two top packages having new releases, with one also changing to giving itself away for free.

Alexa Releases Amazon Shopping Tool
The Search Engine Report, Dec. 6, 1999

Discusses how Alexa has been enhanced with a new zBubbles feature that lets you shop and compare products from any web page.

Worth A Look: Flyswat
About Web Search Guide, Oct. 29, 1999

Review of Flyswat, a navigational tool that lets you locate related web sites by highlighting words on a web page.

The Battle of the Browser Sidekicks
PC World, July 28, 1999,1510,12021,00.html

A review of add-ons that bring content from Yahoo and Excite to your desktop.

Netscape Enhances Smart Browsing
The Search Engine Report, June 2, 1999

Update on new enhancements to Netscape’s Smart Browsing features.

Alexa Upgrades For Internet Explorer
The Search Engine Report, June 2 1999

Review of the latest version of the Alexa search-and-navigation tool

Internet Explorer 5 Makes Search Easier
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999

The latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has a number of search features that can make finding information easier. This takes you on a tour of those features.

Netscape’s Smart Browsing Matures
The Search Engine Report, April 5, 1999

An update on how Netscape’s Internet Keyword system has improved since it was introduced in mid-1998.

Search Utilities Go Beyond Metasearch
The Search Engine Report, Sept. 2, 1998

A review of BullsEye, Mati Hari, Copernic and WebFerret metasearch packages, along with an introduction to this product type.

Smart Browsers Ease Searching
The Search Engine Report, July 1, 1998

Explains features built into Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer designed to make finding web sites easier.

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