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Google toolbar
Hidden features ?

 9:18 pm on Jan 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

by using a proxy such as Internet Junkbuster (it's a proxy to remove banner ads and cookies) with some level of debugging info you can easily capture the query made by the google toolbar to the google servers.

Cut and past it in the browser and you will find that the toolbar get pagerank in an XML file that contain far more information about the website.

For some websites there is additional info such as the date of last crawl but not for all websites.

Does somebody know if there is a hidden feature to display additional info in the toolbar ?

Also the voting function from the beta toolbar doesn't use http to send the vote to google, anybody know how it work ?

For all people who like google very much and always want to know more about it and experiment, don't forget to read [google.com...] .



 9:43 pm on Jan 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think i saw a special button on one toolbar google used in a presenation i think it said "Syncronise" or something like it they maybe get special info like when the site was last crawled and stuff like that.


 10:41 pm on Jan 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Correction, Google Vote use
http but it seems that it doesn't use the proxy settings.

Unfortunately the GET query that cast the vote don't return interesting info.

I would like to know how votes will be used.

Do you think it will be used in PageRank or it will be a separate/additional way to sort SERP ?


 12:52 am on Jan 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

With the 1.1.51-beta toolbar try to type this in the address bar of msie:


try different values instead of 44.


 11:39 am on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett could you also post how to get the toolbar the 1.1.51-beta. I have only been able to get the 1.1.48-deleon


 12:13 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

He announced it over here: [webmasterworld.com...]


 4:39 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Did you know about the hidden features that Roland discussed above?

There are two more buttons available that are hidden. You enable them by editing a registery key. (thanks to Xoc for the pointers).

The two buttons: Forward and Next buttons. They step through the search results one site at a time.

To enable you will need to do the following (standard registery hacking disclaimers apply). We know of no ill side effects.

The key to modify is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\NavClient\1.1\ButtonIDs

(no line breaks, but this going to be multiline so we don't have to scroll:

The key before modification, on my system:

After modification:


Now start IE and enable the toolbar (may have to exit and restart, or disable/enable the toolbar).
Next do a search on Google. Now use the next button to start stepping through the sites, page by page.

Thanks Roland, Xoc.

btw: if Google has a problem with this, let me know. It works in the two versions of the toolbars I have.


 5:02 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Keep on going, i must get that "Syncronise" button.


 6:44 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I found a nice disclaimer from
[googlebar.mozdev.org...] It may be usefull :).

The authors of this project are in no way affiliated with Google inc. Google, Google toolbar, and the 'I'm feeling lucky' search are registered trademarks of Google inc, as is the logo. The Apple logo is likewise a trademark of Apple inc. Google toolbar images are derived from the original Google toolbar in an effort to duplicate the look and feel of the original toolbar as much as possible. This is a non-profit development project; it's pointless to sue.


 7:27 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, the mozdev bar is passive only, in that it does not actually communicate with google about page ranks or other data.


 9:09 pm on Jan 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is a really useful topic. :) I like it.

I've activated the forward/next buttons from the registry. Thanks for the tip.

I'm using the right version, but the code you posted:

With the 1.1.51-beta toolbar try to type this in the address bar of msie:

try different values instead of 44.

does nothing. What is "navclient:action=44" supposed to do?


 1:51 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

I couldn't get that one to work either prowsej.

Sorry Lazer, there is some other stuff in there (custom buttons...etc) but, I don't see anything like that.


 2:17 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Brett and DaveN for the URL

For me the navclient:action=44 displayes different helpages for the toolbar in the browser.

My problem is that I don't have the ButtonIDs key.
Do you creat it yourself and where do you insert the modified value


 4:25 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe i saw wrong i don't know.


 4:44 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)


I think i had the same problem but i was the way i actually read brett's post


search the reg for


highlight 1.1 and look on the righthand side .... i was looking for a folder not a key.... {redface}



 4:47 pm on Jan 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

[google.com ]

[google.com ]


it also effect's news articles


 2:47 am on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

DaveN, what are those links suppoed to do? Fior me (IE6/WinXP) they just start a normal Google search for the term indicated. Can you provide a screenshot of what you see?


 9:24 am on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

check your sticky


 10:21 pm on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Got a question about the toolbar. In order to get the page rankings, the documentation says that it "records" the pages you surf. Does it pick up evey URL you type into Internet Explorer address bar, or just record the links you click on when you do a search in Google. If it's the former, I can't turn it on because there are some "secret" pages that we access that I don't necessarily want to be found or recorded.



 11:47 pm on Jan 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's the former.

I never thought of it, but this could be another method that Google uses to find sites it doesn't yet know about. Theoretically it won't crawl a site that isn't linked to by some site it already knows about, but I'll bet it at least keeps a record of sites it hasn't crawled for possible future reference.


 12:12 am on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)



All I notice are the sponsor background colors are slightly different.


 12:21 am on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

>could be another method that Google uses to find sites it doesn't yet know about

This thread sprung to mind,

>From:Googlebot <nobody@google.com>
>Subject:Your site, www.domain.net, is not in our index.
>The following sites are currently blocking access to search engine crawlers
>with a robots.txt file:
> www.domain.net
>As a result, we have not been able to add your site to
>our index and cannot point our users to your pages



 11:27 am on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why do you type


when I said to type


in the address bar ?

You should not type anything else and you should type it in the address bar, not in the google toolbar.


 11:48 am on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

to display PageRank, the Google toolbar send back to Google the url of the page you are watching. It also send the keywords actually displayed in the google toolbar. I think, but I have to verify this, that it also send the Google cookie with a unique id and a live of +/- 34year.


Alexa has been sued for recording too much info and not respecting their privacy policy IIRC?

It's so simple to record URL and to discard personnal data.

1) at installation time show a form and ask the user to write piece of personnal data
one by line.
2) Store this in a file on the user HD with a little bit of crypto so trojan can 't exploit the data file.
3) Each time that you want to send an url back home verify if some parameter for CGI scripts look like something stored in the local file and filter the data you send back home.
4) Invite some privacy activists to analyse the software to assure user that the local data file is not abused.

The local data file should contain only unlabelled data
so it may be a little more difficult to exploit the data if it is abused.

And don't use 30+ year cookie if it is not usefull for the user.

I hope that we will not be required to use MS Passport to use Google in the future.

Microsoft .NET Passport:
All your data are belong to us !


 3:19 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well I guess I won't use page rank then, because I just don't want to send every url I have to Google. There are some that are "hidden", not linked to. I'm sure if someone really wanted to find them they could, however by not using page rank I can minimize the risk.

Thanks for the information!


 4:06 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

The toolbar can be installed with or without the PR portion turned on, and it's very easy to uninstall/reinstall it. I quite often install it when I'm in research mode, and then uninstall it for general surfing.

It would be nice if Google would build aversion with ab on/off button. Not only would it be more convient, it would probablu go a long way in removing much of the paranoia and mistrust that exists regarding google and the toolbar.


 4:28 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

> I think, but I have to verify this, that it also send the Google cookie
> with a unique id and a live of +/- 34year.

If you have a Google cookie, it sends the unique ID in this pre-existing cookie. If you erase your cookies so that Google doesn't find one, it will plant a 36-year cookie the first time the toolbar phones home.

The cookie expires in January, 2038. This is the maximum date that Unix systems can handle, due to the definition of the data type that was made decades ago. This long unsigned integer, which represents the number of seconds since Jan 1, 1970, rolls over in 2038.


> Alexa has been sued for recording too much info and not respecting
> their privacy policy IIRC?

Alexa lost a class-action suit last year because they were collecting URLs the same way that the Google toolbar collects URLs. However, the basis of the lawsuit was not that Alexa was collecting URLs from surfers, but that Alexa's privacy policy did not explain what they were doing. Google's privacy policy, therefore, explains what their toolbar is doing.

We now have evidence straight from Google that this unique ID is used to build a database on your surfing behavior. GoogleGuy admitted the other day that the cookie ID was used to track down the author of a program they didn't like, by looking up the earliest instances of when that cookie ID first appeared in their records. This program they didn't like inadvertently had the author's cookie ID in it. (At least that's what it looks like now. It's still possible that the entire episode was a Google-inspired set-up to catch others who downloaded and used the program.)

That means Google saves both the cookie ID and the domain info, as well as the sites you visit. Basically it's your Internet life story, and all your secrets.

What would happen if Google was taken over by a company with fewer scruples, and they decided to take all this data and do something more interesting with it? In fact, what do we really know about what Google has in mind?

If you use the toolbar with the PageRank enabled, you're taking a risk unless you delete your Google cookies frequently. It's bad enough that so many IP numbers are static or change infrequently these days; you don't need a sticky Google unique ID on top of this.


 5:05 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm off topic, sorry but does a tool to manipulate cookies for MSIE exist ? I've seen tools to remove them, build rules to accept some and reject other and such but never a tool to play with the cookies.

To whom cookies belongs ? The PC owner or the website ? Is there a legal problem if someone let the browser submit modified cookies ?
What about a software that return cookie nicely formated but with random data ?


 5:10 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

> What about a software that return cookie nicely
> formated but with random data ?

Don't know how to do it with Explorer, which has a more complex cookie system than Netscape.

But in any case, it's a bad idea. If you send Google a cookie ID that is random, they know right away that you're a bad guy. Better to not have a cookie at all.


 6:33 pm on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google is one of the last website I would give a fake cookie because for the moment I trust them. I agree with you that if a "bad" company buy Google we can sudendly get our privacy in big trouble.

An automatic cookie rewriting system could one day prove to be usefull.

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