Feigning normality since 1973
The Scourge of Web Toolbars
Filed in: Internet.
So, I've noticed a new web design element spreading insidiously across the web. Suddenly you can add web toolbars, which float at the bottom of the browser window, to your website, so every user who visits your site gets an extra toolbar full of various tools which may or may not be useful depending on your usual internet hangouts.
Wibiya, for instance, has one which will link to your Twitter, Facebook, and/or YouTube account, and allow visitors to Tweet or "like" your site (you can see a demo of a Wibiya bar on Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic). The Meebo Bar similarly allows you to link to Facebook, Twitter, et al. I first started noticing the things when Wikia threw one on their new skin.
Is this a new trend? I note that, unlike toolbars which are actually built into your browser, you can't turn them off. I also wonder if there are privacy concerns here — if a company can get its toolbar on enough sites, they can start building up a pretty comprehensive picture of people's browsing habits. Of course, this isn't new, and web bugs have been around for years, but these web toolbars seem to add an extra carrot to entice webmasters to place them on their web site. Hrm.
Posted October 9, 2010 10:13 AM
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