Google Toolbar buttons for British newspapers including headline feeds

 by Martin Belam, 19 July 2007

A couple of weeks ago I made available a whole series of OpenSearch plugins for British newspaper sites which would work in Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2. The XML files used to produce these are only a hop, skip and a jump away from the XML required to make a custom button for the Google Toolbar, so I have now made custom Google Toolbar buttons for the major British newspapers.


The Google Toolbar is available for most browsers on most operating systems, and adding these British newspaper buttons to it is a matter of a couple of clicks.

They allow you to search a newspaper's online content direct from the Google Toolbar, and the majority of them also check every 5 minutes for the headlines of the newspaper in question, which can be viewed via a drop-down menu.


I've covered The Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Guardian's Comment Is Free site, The Independent, The Scotsman, The Sun, The Sunday Sport, The Telegraph and The Times.


Only the Daily Star and Sunday Sport buttons do not feature a drop-down menu of the main headlines from the paper. This is because neither paper publishes RSS feeds of their content. I must confess, however, that particularly in the case of the Sunday Sport, this lack of functionality is probably no great loss.

The searches over the content of the Daily Star and The Telegraph are both performed using the UK index of Google, rather than a site search from the paper itself. This is because the Star does not offer a site search, and because The Telegraph disguises the URLs generated by their search engine so that I have found it impossible to engineer a plugin that works for the newspaper online.

I've produced custom Google Toolbar buttons specifically for the blogs on The Mirror and The Telegraph site, but I've been unable to include a drop-down menu of the latest posts with them. I'm unsure why, as I can't see anything funky about the encoding of the XML in the RSS feeds they generate, but the Google Toolbar chokes when ingesting these feeds.


Again I can't help feeling surprised that no newspaper group seems to be leading the way in themselves distributing these kinds of plugins and widgets for their users.

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