One of the best things about working on the Google Toolbar team is that when someone says "Wouldn't it be great if Toolbar could...," our answer is usually "Yes! Let's build it!" And then it's just a question of when. To test these ideas more easily, today we're introducing Google Toolbar Labs. Just as Google Labs and Gmail Labs are playgrounds for new ideas, Toolbar Labs was built to get ideas out there quickly to see how you like them.

And now we're ready to roll out our first two Labs versions of Toolbar. Drum roll, please...

Google Toolbar with My Location

Back in September, the Mobile team launched Mobile Search with My Location. Looking at this, we wanted to figure our how we could bring the same convenience of typing fewer words to computer users. With Toolbar with My Location, both Google Maps and the included Maps gadget automatically center on your current location. Similarly, you can just do a search like [thai food], and you will receive a list of nearby restaurants and more local Google search results. This feature is similar to IP-based local search results announced earlier this month, except Google Toolbar with My Location can determine a more accurate location by using nearby Wi-Fi access points. This is done without associating location information with a user's Google Account. Google Toolbar with My Location is only available in the U.S.

Google Simplified Chinese Toolbar

We recognize that due to differences in local language structures, users who speak other languages may have specific needs for browsing the web. To address this, our team in China developed a slightly different Toolbar concept called the Google Simplified Chinese Toolbar (Google工具栏简体中文版). We updated the user interface to use the space more effectively, and users will be able to translate pages with a single click and manage bookmarks with a new sidebar. This toolbar is only available in Simplified Chinese.

A few things to keep in mind as you check out Toolbar Labs: It's a forum to test out new ideas, so some of these ideas will make it into the standard Toolbar, but others may not. Also, Labs versions are not as well-tested as beta versions, so they may be slightly more unstable. And Toolbar Labs is currently available for Internet Explorer only.

We hope to bring you the next batch soon. Meanwhile, we look forward to hearing your feedback on these two new toolbars!