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Making Google Easier with Google Tools

These Google Tools have been discontinued.

You can use Google even when the www.google.com page isn’t currently in your browser. It’s simple to do with the following tools and features.

1. Toolbar

(Well worth installing if you use Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP with Internet Explorer version 5.5 or later) - toolbar.google.com

A screen shot of Google's Toolbar

Access Google from your Internet Explorer toolbar. The following table lists just some of the many wonderful features available through the Google Toolbar.

Feature Allowing you to …
Search Box Access Google’s search technology from your browser toolbar.
Search Site Search only the pages of the site you’re currently visiting.
Highlight Highlight terms on the current page.
Word Find Find your search terms on a page and navigate to them.
Pop-up Blocker Stop annoying pop-up windows (new in version 2.0 of Toolbar).
AutoFill Automatically fill in a form (new in version 2.0 of Toolbar).

Below are links to more information on Google’s Toolbar:

Google’s Toolbar is now available for Firefox.

A screen shot of the Mozilla Googlebar

If you use Mozilla or Netscape, try Googlebar, googlebar.mozdev.org, which emulates all of the basic search functionality of Google’s Toolbar, allowing you to easily access almost all of Google’s specialty searches (some of which may not be supported by the Google Toolbar) from one convenient toolbar. Googlebar works on recent versions of Mozilla and Netscape, but may not work on older ones.

2. Deskbar

(well worth installing if you use Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and Internet Explorer 5.5 or a more recent version) - toolbar.google.com/deskbar/

A screen shot of Google's Deskbar

Access Google from your Windows desktop toolbar. The following table lists the Deskbar key features.

Feature Allowing you to …
Search Box Access Google’s search technology even when your browser isn’t running.
Preview Preview search results in a small inset window that closes automatically.

Access Google from any application by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-G keys simultaneously.

Search Selected Text

Select text within a Word document, e-mail, browser page, or any other application, and then use that selected text as your search query by pressing the Ctrl-Alt-G keys simultaneously.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Access these services By pressing these keys simultaneously

Google News


Google Images


Product Search


Web Search




I’m Feeling Lucky




Stock Quotes




For more information on what the Deskbar can do, visit toolbar.google.com/deskbar/help/cmds.html.

3. Browser Buttons

Access Google’s search technology by adding Browser Buttons to your browser’s toolbar.

There are several versions; the version for your browser should be selected automatically when you click on the link above. The illustration below, and the rest of this section, describe the Unix/Linux buttons; other versions may not have all of the features described. (When you click the link above, the page you get should describe the features of your version.)

<objectinfo><copyright><year>2003</year><holder>Google Inc. Used with permission.</holder></copyright></objectinfo>It's easy to install buttons for Google searching.

There are three browser buttons:

  1. GoogleSearch:

    Performs search on any highlighted text or pops up a search box and prompts you for search terms.

    Highlight Text

    Copyright © 2003 Google Inc. Used with permission.

    • Use your mouse to highlight this phrase: Stanford University.
    • Click the Google Search button and Google searches the web for the highlighted phrase.


    • Simply click the button and enter your search terms in the pop-up Google search box.
  2. GoogleScout

    Delivers links to sites and information related to whichever page you are viewing.

    1. Go to a website such as www.stanford.edu.

    2. Once the page has loaded, click the GoogleScout button to find other web pages similar to Stanford’s page.

  3. Google.com

    Click the Google.com button to go directly to the www.google.com page.

Note: The Google Browser Buttons should work for recent versions of most browsers, but may not work on older ones.

Google Browser Buttons are available at www.google.com/options/buttons.html.

4. Built-in Browser Support

Several web browsers have built-in support for search engines — including Google, of course.

  • If you use Mac OS X, Apple’s Safari web browser has a Google search window in the Navigation bar next to the URL. Type your Google search there. Clicking on the icon shows a menu of your recent searches.
  • All recent versions of the Opera and Firefox browsers have a feature like Safari’s: Type your Google Web search in the special search box next to the URL, then press the ENTER or RETURN key. A drop-down menu lets you choose other types of search.
  • The Netscape browser can show Google search results in its Sidebar, to one side of the browser window.

5. Make Google Your Homepage

To have the Google home page appear whenever you start your browser, click on the “Make Google Your Homepage” link on Google’s home page. If the link is missing, follow the instructions listed on www.google.com/options/defaults.html.

6. Make Google Your Default Search Engine

For instructions, visit www.google.com/options/defaults.html#default.


Set up your system to make Google easier to access. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page.

  1. If you use Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and Internet Explorer 5.5 or a more recent version, install the Google Deskbar on your system.
  2. If you use a browser that supports the Google Toolbar, install it on your system. If you use another browser, install Google Browser Buttons on your system.
  3. Make Google your home page.
  4. Make Google your default search engine.

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This page was last modified on: Monday August 11, 2008

For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

Creative Commons

By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.