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5 browser toolbars for quick info

Got a minute? That’s about how long it will take to make your Web browser—probably the most valuable tool on your PC—even more useful.

An add-on for web browsers, known as a browser toolbar, delivers quicker access to Internet searches, stock lookups, yellow pages and other information. Maybe you think you’ve already got easy access to this information, but once you install a toolbar, you’re not likely to turn back.

Just beware: Only download toolbars from reputable companies. Wired News reported a toolbar from a company based in Hungary was wreaking havoc on users’ machines: “Sneaky Toolbar Hijacks Browsers.”

  1. Google Toolbar
    With the toolbar installed, you’re able to enter your search term straight from the toolbar, and presto, you’ve got your search results—all without first visiting Google. On its own, this would be a welcome addition, but the toolbar adds a number of other handy features. A pull-down menu, for instance, makes it possible to limit your search to the current site or recent news. A dictionary is available, too, as well as stock quotes.
  2. Yahoo Toolbar
    Yahoo Toolbar is best for people who use other Yahoo services, such as its personalized Yahoo homepage or Yahoo email. The toolbar includes links to those services, as well as movie show times and games.
  3. StumbleUpon
    The StumbleUpon toolbar connects with the free StumbleUpon service and helps to recommend websites based on your interests.
  4. Alexa
    Alexa’s toolbar helps you to find sites that are similar to the one you’re visiting. It will also display the site’s current Alexa traffic ranking.
  5. Dogpile Toolbar
    Infospace offers the Dogpile Toolbar, linking users to a dictionary, thesaurus, horoscopes, white pages, and other features, as well as a variety of Internet searches.

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