Seriously, who installs toolbar for browsers, on purpose (other than your mom and your friends and your relatives and friends of your relatives who generally have messy, virus-laden computers)? But the newly redesigned Bing Bar for Internet Explorer, by Microsoft, is probably the one and only toolbar in history that you might actually want to install. In fact, I recommend that you install the Bing Bar.
The new Bing bar has been “engineered from the ground up”, says Microsoft, to give you quick access to all the stuff you do online. The Bing Bar now functions more like a dashboard than a toolbar.
The new toolbar is a snug fit at the top of the page. It is visually pleasing and looks a million times better than a conventional toolbar. See how it blends with Internet Explorer 9’s interface. But the mere cosmetic change is not what the Bing Bar has undergone, instead the redesign run very deep under the hood.
The Bing Bar has a number of buttons that each bring down a small panel when you click on it. There is a panel for news, one for map, one for weather, email alerts, a panel for Facebook, Microsoft Translation Service, a panel for movies in theatres near you, stock alerts and games. Each of these panel is like an application – think Chrome Web Apps. And of course, there is the Bing search field right in the middle of the toolbar, where you type in search terms and it autocompletes.
Facebook fans no longer need to have Facebook opened in a tab at all times. The Bing Bar shows your Wall, photos, messages and notification. You can also post updates to your wall.
The email app allows you to set up email accounts for Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail and access your inbox from the drop-down panel. You also receive notification on new mails.
You can setup alerts and determine which apps should display alerts and which should not. You can also remove these app icons from the toolbar and arrange their position which is another improvement for the Bing Bar.
For regular Internet Explorer users, the Bing Bar is quite a useful tool. It works only with IE 7 or later. On a Windows machine you need Windows 7 or Windows Vista or Windows XP with Service Pack 3.
A note of warning: the Bing Bar has a history of tracking user’s every move such as search keywords and the pages they visit. This particular behavior is what generated the Bing-copies-Google uproar early this month.