Get ready to add a new instrument to your Web 2.0 toolbox. It's the Web browser toolbar.
We're not talking about a toolbar from Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report), MSN, AOL, Wikipedia, Windows Live or any other Internet giant. We're talking about your toolbar. San Mateo, Calif.-based Conduit allows Web publishers to build their very own toolbar for free.
Conduit was founded by Ronen Shilo, Dror Erez and Gaby Bilczyk in 2005 to allow publishers to build their own toolbar using a WYSIWYG setup. Publishers are able to use their brand and include features such as chat, video, podcasts, RSS feeds and tickers, social networking and more.
"What it does is it provides publishers the ability to take over, permanently, a number of pixels on a user's browser and they can put anything they like there," says Adam Boyden, president of Conduit. "The toolbar always brings up connotations of search companies, but Conduit really is in a different game."Boyden says Conduit was founded to help publishers solve the problem of visitor retention and frequency. The wave continues to grow for Web surfers, and getting noticed and being remembered gets more difficult with each Web site built. It's likely that your "favorite" bookmarks are probably littered with Web sites long forgotten. With a toolbar, however, publishers have the ability to grab prime real estate on the Web browser with their logo constantly in view. If users don't want to ditch the convenience of their Google search, no problem. Conduit-built toolbars include a search box powered by Google.