+1 Incoming? Google's New Toolbar Is Rolling Out

For months, we’ve been getting tips about a new toolbar that Google has been testing on google.com. In fact, we first posted about it back in November and the tips have been steadily coming in since then. But today something happened: we’ve started getting a massive wave of tips about the toolbar. And all of us are now seeing it too. Yes, it looks like Google is rolling out their new toolbar.

You might ask: so what? Well, judging from the leaked images we got of Google’s social product, +1 (at least, that’s what it was called a few months ago), it would seem the two might be directly related.

So far, the drop down that shows your name only holds the Gmail address for your account and the ability to sign out. The settings menu next to it has the usual basic search settings and account settings. In other words, nothing special to see just yet.

More to come, I’m sure.

Update: Here’s Google’s statement on the new bar:

Last week we tested a new top navigation bar, which increases consistency across most of Google’s properties and is a visual update over the previous top navigation bar. We are now rolling this new bar out widely.

So they’re clearly calling this just a visual upgrades — but there’s no denying that it looks a lot like the element of +1 that we saw. In other words, this may be step one in a gradual process.