For those who have been reluctant to add yet another tool bar to Internet Explorer, the beta of Google Toolbar 2.0 provides at least one reason to do so: a pop-up ad blocker.
The free download from Google (at toolbar.google.com/index-beta.php) includes two features beyond the search features found in Version 1.0 of the Google Toolbar: The new version gains Web logging and form-filling features. (No release date for Version 2.0 has been set, company officials said.)
In my tests, the tool bar provided more value than "free" implies, especially the form filler. Theres no mystery to using Google, so putting a couple of nice-to-haves together for free makes the tool bar a more compelling download.
Furthermore, the features that might intrude on privacy, such as Pagerank, can be disabled via an options screen I found easy to configure (see screen, above).
The Web logging feature is a synergistic fit, given that Google recently acquired Pyra Labs, the company behind Blogger.com. (Google blogs are hosted on Blogger.com.)
By creating a blog (basically a list of URLs with some notes), the user has a more practical way to go back and find a particular Web site than using IEs Favorites feature, which can get kind of unwieldy after adding, say, a few dozen sites.
The tool bar requires IE 5.0 or higher and Windows 95 or higher. The pop-up blocker requires IE 5.5 or higher.