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For example, toolbar can measure site's "popularity" like Alexa and send out googlebot accordingly.
Or it can check how much time people spend on the site to determine it's relevance to certain SERPs.
Does any of this make sense?
I have seen GB lurking around on a new site with no links and I have heard of many other times. But the word on the street from GG is they dont use the data.
If you read the privacy:
Periodically, the Google Toolbar contacts our servers to see if you are running the most current version. If necessary, we will automatically provide you with the latest update to the Google Toolbar.
You know they are doing it, so should we have a problem if they use the data? ;)
I also have brand new domain (never owned before) getting into index in few weeks with no links to it! I actually don't think I have even visited the site with Toolbar enabled anyways (but I could've).
I am wondering how did that happen? And it ranks #2 for the main keyword, but totally uncompetitive one, just a band name...
I created a new page the day before yesterday. The page is really an online bill, so it isn't supposed to be indexed by se's and the code contains "NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW" meta tags. After I had uploaded the page, I checked it with IE (toolbar on). Less than 16 minutes later googlebot visited the page! I hadn't even had time to send the url to my client!
Now I can work on the links and further optimizations.
After eliminating the impossible, the Google toolbar was the only suspect left. Besides, when turning on the advanced features, you do agree to sending site information to Google. I think it's fairly obvious.
I think it's going beyond conjecture now, we should try and get this settled once and for all :)