What is Happening to the Google Toolbar Button Gallery?

google-toolbar-button-broke.gif

Are user submitted buttons disappearing from the Google Toolbar Button Gallery? Old categories have been removed. Links to author sites appear incorrect, broken…

When Google announced the Google Toolbar Buttons last year, it was too cute of a gimmick to pass up. I made a some custom buttons and found them quite handy to have sitting up on my toolbar. Not only that, but I made a few for SEO clients that resulted in extra traffic and even a few leads–yes leads, believe it or not.

According to the Google Toolbar Submit Button page, you can

“create a custom button XML file, upload it to your website and use this form to tell us about it. We’ll review it to make sure it meets our Editorial Guidelines, then display it in the Button Gallery for others to enjoy.”

I did this and my button soon appeared in the Google Button Gallery. I became quite endeared to the whole idea of Toolbar Buttons after seeing these PR 4/5 gallery pages with my buttons reported as backlinks by Google.

Like myself, most users who took the time to create and submit a Google custom Toolbar Button and even entire Toolbar Button sites didn’t expect any guarantees that their buttons wouldn’t be discarded. I did expect them to remain intact longer than a year. Think of how long the ancient Google Directory has been with us. Yet, on approximately April 30, 2007, the date iGoogle launched, entire categories of buttons started disappearing. Specifically, these categories were dropped:

  • Blogs
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Jobs
  • Local
  • Other
  • Reviews
  • Search
  • Shopping
  • Software
  • Travel

Comparison of the old Google Toolbar Button Gallery with the new

google-toolbar-button-gallery.gif

The new menu (right) looks very similar to the menu that appears on iGoogle under “Add stuff to your homepage.

Where are the buttons previously listed in the above categories? They are viewable only by searching the gallery for the specific site name. Worst of all, the buttons appear adjacent to broken and incorrect links back to the authors’ sites:

Feedster shows geocities.com as official site
google-toolbar-button-feedster.gif

GameSpot official site shows as i.i.com.com
google-toolbar-button-gamespot.gif

Looks like TechCrunch has been acquired by a cable company
google-toolbar-button-techcrunch.gif

So what are Toolbar Button fans supposed to do? Do we resubmit or move on? Is Google discarding user buttons or should we assume this is a temporary glitch?

Update: I am seeing the old categories and buttons returning to life in the Google Toolbar Button Gallery! Looks like a happy ending.
Update: Oops, now the old categories are gone again. Broken links appear fixed though.

Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland is editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. He's a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. Emory's love for social media and success with organic search led him to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, he could be considered by many as pretty worthless. More...

7 comments

  1. Jeff R

    This is a great article and something to consider for future promotions. Nothing beats creating an easy link that your readers can bookmark your site.
    Kind Regards,
    Jeff R

  2. SEO Honolulu

    Good article and a sharp eye too! I didn’t even notice that change!

  3. hotdog

    Wow! Good article.

  4. OilGasFutures.Com

    we could use a good webmaster as a consultant, or at least some tips? -Patrick Kerr, OilGasFutures.Com

  5. James

    I have created two buttons now – and one has been in the directory for a long time – hoping the one I just created will get accepted.

  6. Arjun

    Hi,

    I’m facing another surprising issue, a button that I created and still very much functional has disappeared from the gallery, but still working fine in the toolbar for all existing installs.

    As such, none of my new users can add it to the toolbar, as it just doesn’t appear in the gallery anymore…

    Any idea what that issue is, and if others are facing it as well ?

    Arjun

    • Emory Rowland

      Hi Arjun, Even if the toolbar button has disappeared from the gallery, you should still be able to install it in your browser so you can see it. You have to place the link code to install the button in an HTML file on your desktop, then open the HTML page and click the link. The install code is in this post: http://blog.clickfire.com/google-toolbar-buttons/

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