Yahoo fires up toolbar for Firefox users

Yahoo released a toolbar for users of the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.

Yahoo released a beta version of its Web browser toolbar for users of the Mozilla Firefox browser on Thursday, offering bookmarks, newsfeeds and search and translation tools.

The beta version of the toolbar requires Firefox 1.0 for Windows and is available for free download from Yahoo's site. It also includes features such as the ability to search a site, Yahoo Mail notifications and alerts, and buttons for access to the Internet company's games, finance, news and sports sites, among others.

The release comes on the heels of reports that Firefox is quickly gaining in popularity, although it still holds a small portion of the market compared to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer (IE) browser. The Yahoo Toolbar has been available to IE users for some time.

Firefox 1.0 was released in November and its share of the market grew 34 percent from November to December, according to analyst firm WebSideStory. Firefox's usage share hovered at around 4 percent at the beginning of December, while IE stood at around 92 percent, down from 95.5 percent six months earlier, WebSideStory said.

Yahoo's release of a toolbar for Firefox demonstrates the browser's growing popularity, the Mozilla Foundation said in a statement. The open source browser has been downloaded over 23 million times since its launch in November, it added.

While the Firefox toolbar is still in a beta version, Yahoo said it plans to add its antispyware tool to the product soon. The Internet company added its antispyware tool to the IE version of the toolbar last year.

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