Combine Multiple Search Toolbars Into One – Firefox

I’m not usually a fan of web browser toolbars – all too often I see users with 5 or more of the things taking up half of the screen. Some may be adware toolbars that the user didn’t even knowingly install but there are many popular toolbars from Google, Bing and Amazon etc that can be really useful.

However, even multiple ‘useful’ toolbars still take up a lot of valuable screen real estate and clutter up the browser window – it would be great if there was a single toolbar that combined all the most popular toolbars into one.

Fortunately, for users of Firefox, there is – the Groowe toolbar.

Groowe search toolbar is a free add-on available for Firefox.

Groowe bundles toolbar functions for many search engines, shopping sites and download sites into a single toolbar space. The entire toolbar reconfigures when you select a different site and it includes many advanced features found in each engine or site.

It is probably easiest to see how it works via screenshots:

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Default Groowe – Google search engine

By default, Groowe has added the Google toolbar to Firefox. This is particularly useful as the official Google toolbar no longer works in Firefox (since Firefox 5).

To change to a different search engine just click the ‘Google’ button to display a list to choose from:

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Choice of other search engine toolbars to choose from

In our example I have chosen Yahoo so the Groowe bar instantly changes from the Google toolbar to the Yahoo toolbar:

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Changed to Yahoo search engine

Groowe Search Toolbar is customized for each search engine so you can perform all kind of searches – whichever each engine supports e.g. Froogle, My Yahoo, image search, video search etc

It also makes it easy to perform the same search on multiple search engines from the list included simultaneously e.g. you can search on Google, Bing, Amazon and many others at the same time – clicking the blue arrow/diamond icon reveals a choice to search from (the results open in separate tabs):

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Multiple simultaneous searches

You can change the order of search engines included in Groowe Favorites, remove/add search engines or customize what appears in an individual toolbar – choose ‘Customization and Options’ from the search engine drop down list (shown in the 2nd picture of this article) to open the Options window:

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Add or remove search engines

You can also change the way that Groowe operates – click the Preferences tab in the Options window to amend Preferences:

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Change Groowe preferences

One of the key preferences is whether you always want search results to open in a new tab or not – another is whether to hide the Amazon shortcut which otherwise appears at the end of every toolbar (I assume this may be an affiliate link for the Growee developers)

Which Search Engines Are Covered?

The list includes the following toolbars: Google, Bing, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Ask, del.icio.us, Digg and many others

Download Groowe

Download and install the free Groowe toolbar for Firefox from the official Mozilla add-ons site here).

Conclusion

Growee is an excellent toolbar which combines more than 10 popular toolbars in one – and you can remove any search toolbars from the list if you don’t want all of them available. It is well worth installing even if just for the Google toolbar as Google’s own official toolbar is no longer available.

The transition from one toolbar to another is almost instant and the ability to search using multiple engines at the same time is a welcome bonus for those who often end up searching Google and then Bing etc in turn…

I have been using Groowe for a few weeks now and it is a seamless way of using multiple toolbars in one – keeping the screen free and speeding up the load time of Firefox (compared to having installed multiple search engine toolbars individually).

4 Responses to: "Combine Multiple Search Toolbars Into One – Firefox"

  1. Mark W. says:

    Thanks Roy for the excellent review and mention.
    I’m using Chrome for the most part now and I miss the Groowe toolbar and some extensions specific to Firefox. I wonder if Chrome will ever allow toolbars or maybe just one like this one.

  2. Mark W. says:

    Hi Roy.
    I just came across and installed an extension for Chrome which makes it easy to perform search using various search engines. It’s named searchO (developed by diigo.com) and can be found at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/eekjldapjblgadclklmgolijbagmdnfk . So far, so good.
    I didn’t care for the message, however, that came up while installing which said – It can access: your data on all web sites, your bookmarks, your browsing history, and your tabs and browsing activity. It concerns me so I don’t know how often I’ll use it or to what extent. Do you think that’s a lot of access for an extension or is this “exaggerated” warning from Chrome? I went ahead with the installation since diigo.com is not a “fly by night” outfit. I’d be interested to hear any of your thoughts on these access privileges.

    • Roy says:

      At least Chrome is up front about them – Firefox addons may well access the same things or worse but don’t tell you…

      Data on all websites and tabs/browsing activity seem common for most Search Tool extensions. Bookmarks is because it adds a bookmark search.

      Not sure why it needs browsing history too but if it can access your current browsing activity then it’s not a huge stretch to access your past history – activity becomes history after all…

      Ultimately it depends how much you trust the company, how long it’s been available (more time for clever programmers to find problems with the code/access rights). User reviews plus Google’s own review of extensions help – Diigo seem pretty respectable