Yahoo Rolls Out A "Real-Time" Toolbar

Yahoo released a new browser toolbar today for IE and Firefox which lets you add icons for your favorite Yahoo apps and Websites. When you click on the icons, you get a drop-down preview of your favorite sites, mail, stock quotes, or news feeds without having to go to those sites directly. It is only real-time in that you can check for the latest updates without going to those sites. From the Yahoo blog.

Small previews drop down from your toolbar, giving you real-time information without ever having to leave the page you’re on.

The toolbar is completely customizable, so you add from a large Websites or apps you want to keep handy. But if it really wants to be real-time, Yahoo needs to make it easier for you to preview your personal activity stream across sites. Other add-ons such as Friendbar try the streaming ticker approach, which I find too distracting. But perhaps a drop-down stream preview or built-in notifications when new items appear in your stream (whether that is Twitter, Facebook, or something else) would be preferable.

Yahoo also made search faster from the toolbar, incorporating some search assist technology from its Inquisitor acquisition. It suggests refined queries as you begin typing and sites that you’ve clicked on in the past. (The Inquisitor app for the iPhone is also worth checking out).