The Monster Toolbar
By Rita Kushnir
The toolbar took slightly longer to install than a toolbar usually does, but installation was simple and it appeared on my browser within minutes. After using it for a day, I decided to keep it. As promised, it provides many of the resources one might need while using the Internet. For me, it almost eliminated the need to use the start button or navigate my computer. Most importantly, the toolbar includes a search bar which allows you to choose between dozens of search engines like Google and MSN, informative Web sites like About and Britannica and commercial Web sites like Amazon and eBay, in addition to a dictionary and a thesaurus. You can also search for keywords within the current Web site. There are over a hundred search options and you can choose to display only those you plan to use to make navigation easy. A tool highlights the keywords used. Advanced Searchbar provides a variety of useful tools, some of which are screen-saver launcher, disk cleanup, Internet settings, system properties, windows control panel, and lots more. You can also launch a CD or DVD Player, Media Player, Winamp and other multimedia programs straight from the toolbar. Adware and pop-up blockers are enabled and disabled with a click of a button. Other tools such as zoom-in/out and calculator also come in handy. Then there is the news ticker feature, which displays the latest headlines from your favorite news source. You can view headlines from as many Web sites as you choose. The speed and size of the ticker are adjustable to accommodate your preferences. In addition, there are dozens of news Web sites bookmarked for you so you can view various sources without typing a thing. There is also a quick search for stock quotes by simply entering the company’s name or symbol. Advanced Searchbar also provides maps and driving directions (you can choose from 10 sources). And while you’re there, you can check the weather in your area by simply entering your zip code. There is also a quick movie search that allows you to select among several movie info providers like Moviefone. Furthermore, with just two clicks, you can translate a current Web page from a dozen languages to English and vice versa. Although awkward and funny at times, the quality of translation exceeded my expectations. There are also 40 e-mail providers bookmarked so you can check all your inboxes in seconds. AIM, MSN and Trillion instant messengers are launched from the toolbar. There are various other features that enable you to launch Web-based games, Blog communities and e-card resources. All of this is very compact, easy to use and highly customizable to suit your preferences. The toolbar is free and uninstalls itself without leaving a trace.