Mozilla Firefox is gaining more search-engine supporters as Yahoo Inc. launches a version of its toolbar for the open-source Web browser.
Starting Thursday, Yahoo will make a beta a version of its Firefox toolbar available as a free download. It will include many of the same features as the Yahoo Toolbar for Microsofts Internet Explorer browser, Yahoo officials said.
The initial Firefox toolbar beta is specifically for Windows and will not include Yahoo Anti-Spy, a spyware-fighting tool added into the IE toolbar last year. But Yahoo plans to build Mac OS X and Linux versions and extend Anti-Spy to the Firefox toolbar “shortly,” the company announced.
For its Firefox toolbar, Yahoo will let users create bookmarks and custom buttons, to search within an opened Web site, view past searches and to add a sites available RSS or Atom feed to My Yahoo. The toolbar provides links into a range of Yahoo services beyond Web search, including Yahoo Mail and Yahoo News.
Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is the first of the major search engines to support the Firefox browser with its toolbar download. Google Inc., Microsoft Corp.s MSN division and Ask Jeeves Inc. all offer toolbars that are tied to IE.
Google, though, has made overtures of support to Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the browsers development. Google has hired a former Mozilla employee, Ben Goodger, and donated half of his time back to the project. Goodger has been Firefoxs lead engineer during the development and release of a full Firefox version.
During a meeting with financial analysts Wednesday, Google co-founder Larry Page also mentioned Firefox when he was asked about Googles Web browser involvement. Page declined to discuss any of Googles future plans with browsers or Firefox.
“Obviously weve noticed that Firefox has gained some share,” said Page, Googles president of products.
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