Internet toolbars… I’ve never liked them, and always associate them with two words: useless and malware. So what makes Live Toolbar different? Well, apart from integration with every other Live application, not a lot. For some reason, Microsoft felt compelled to give you another search box to go along with the one you already have in the top corner of IE, which is utterly pointless and tends to get in the way a bit.
Another gripe I have is the fact that you need Internet Explorer to use the damn thing, which puts me off straight away — I much prefer Firefox or even Safari to Internet Explorer, and unfortunately for Microsoft, a toolbar isn’t going to change that!
Despite the annoyances, I did find quite a few notable features that I actually
didn’t mind quite liked. When you open IE, the toolbar is at the top of the window with the search function located on the left hand side. To the right of that, you’re presented with a selection of buttons. The first two: ‘What’s new’ and ‘Profile’ don’t offer any surprises and just send you to another webpage, but after this, things get a little more interesting with Live integration. If you select the ‘Mail’ button, you’ll get a nice little drop down window below the button which displays recent e-mails, and offers a link to your inbox. If you don’t run Live Mail on your system, this is a great tool to check recent emails and go straight to your inbox.
As well as this, I like the ‘Calendar’ button which gives you a quick look at your recent entries and gives you the option to go to your calendar, or view an entry by clicking on it.
If you run quite a few Windows Live Essentials applications, you might want to give the Live Toolbar a try — you might just find it remotely useful…