I had this in mind for a few days, but haven’t gotten to it AOL has a beta of their new AOL Toolbar for Firefox (1.0.6 Beta II). I decided to give it a quick go (it’s available to non-AOL members). While I’ve never seen the use of these toolbars (AOL, Google, Yahoo), for a purpose than blocking popups in older versions of IE, I won’t get into that discussion any further, instead looking at it from a more technical point of view.
It’s actually rather well done, it has a settings window that lets you add/remove (and reorder) items from the toolbar, which appear as soon as you close the window (very cool to see that smoothly happen). Overall it looks like a very complete offering with AOL artwork, and everything. That’s what impressed me the most. I don’t see mail notification, though I don’t know if their IE toolbar offers that either (it does offer the ability to go to mail, and compose message. Also interesting is when you select text, it automatically populates the search bar’s query box, literally as you highlight (it grows as your selection covers more characters).
Very cool to see AOL supporting Firefox users with an AOL toolbar.
Super job AOL employees! Great to see your ensuring your users have access to your services from the browser of their choice. For those wondering (and I’m sure would comment), I’m still not fond of their new email policy, but I do feel it’s important to give them criticism and praise where they deserve it. Remember it’s feedback that lets companies gauge how their policies/products/services are perceived by the public.
If anyone from AOL wants to let me know if there are plans to integrate login based services at all (for example mail so users can tell if they get new messages), feel free to leave a comment or contact.