Friday, December 21, 2007
Last week Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer launched version 5 as a public beta. This version introduces a number of exciting features, such as making your Toolbar settings available from any computer that you log into with your Google Account, improved suggestions for broken links, as well as important changes that make Toolbar more accessible for assistive technology users.
This release adds support for Windows Accessibility APIs (used by screen readers, etc.) and enables keyboard navigation and access. From inside a browser with Toolbar installed, the global shortcut Alt+G places your cursor in the Google Toolbar search box. If you're using a screen reader, you'll hear "Google Toolbar Search". Pressing the Tab key brings keyboard focus to the button placed immediately after the search box, and right and left arrow keys move focus between buttons. More information on keyboard access is documented in the Toolbar Help Center (query 'accessibility').
Version 5 comes as a part of our ongoing efforts to enhance accessibility in our client-side and web applications, which is a matter I hardly need to mention is very important. Personally, I see my work that went into the Toolbar as an important step forward, as the product reaches a very large number of users and enables everyone to gain quick access to a multitude of useful features, through a unified UI. Adding keyboard navigation and other features that enhance the ease of access to these features benefit everyone.
We look forward to making further improvements to accessibility (including the installation process) in future releases. You can download the new Google Toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/T5.