Google Partners With Adobe For Toolbar Distribution In Shockwave, Other Product To Be Named

Both Adobe (PDF link) and Google have announced a new deal where Adobe will distribute the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer as part of Adobe Macromedia Shockwave Player downloads. That was supposed to begin yesterday, and bundling with other Adobe products will happen in the future.

Wait a minute? Weren't Yahoo and Adobe buddy-buddies? Yes -- a special version of the Yahoo Toolbar is built into the popular Adobe Acrobat Reader program, through a deal dating back to October 2004.

In January of this year, Google began distributing Adobe Reader as part of the Google Pack without the Yahoo Toolbar being part of it. Google told me (article for SEW members) then that the Adobe-Yahoo agreement only covered the distribution Adobe did.

So is the Yahoo-Adobe deal completely over? No. Reuters reports that Adobe says that will continue:

Adobe previously included Yahoo Inc.'s toolbar as an option with the Shockwave Player, Adobe spokeswoman Katie Juran said. Adobe still offers the Yahoo toolbar as an option for its Flash Player and Adobe Reader products, she said.

I just uninstalled Acrobat Reader and downloaded a fresh copy. I definitely see the Yahoo Toolbar as part of the latest installation.

As for the Abobe-Google deal, the bundling with Google Pack wasn't based on payment, Google told me at the time. This latest deal is a financial arrangement, though exactly how much money is changing hands is not disclosed.

As for the distribution, I downloaded Shockwave and got no prompt for the Google Toolbar to be added. Of course, I already had it in Internet Explorer, and that seems to be why I didn't get a separate install. The Shockwave FAQ suggests that you should see a separate install process and that this won't happen if you have the Google Toolbar already.

That FAQ also notes that the Yahoo Toolbar, previously bundled with Shockwave, has now been dropped. In addition, it says that that third parties that distribute Shockwave do not have to bundle the Google Toolbar with those distributions.

The Google Blog post also says:

Starting today, Adobe is offering the Google Toolbar to its customers as a free download -- a great way to take Google search with you anywhere on the web.

So far, that seems to be true within Shockwave. But it's also a bit overstated. The Google Toolbar on its own is not offered anywhere on the Adobe products page, nor does a search for "google toolbar" flag any page for those who just want the toolbar on its own

The best, most specific information is part of the Shockwave FAQ that I've mentioned. There is at least a direct link to the Google Toolbar download page. But that's much different that the idea the Google Blog suggests, that people visiting Adobe might be getting a pitch for the Google Toolbar on its own. Not yet, not so far.

Postscript Barry:

I was sent a screen capture of this in action, you can view the screen capture at

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Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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