Featured Freeware: CustomizeGoogle

Firefox users can take advantage of the tools that CustomizeGoogle gives them to build a more secure, highly-customized Google surfing experience, from search results to Web mail.

Google has long been one of the most useful tools on the Net, but frequent search engine users may find that they can make it even more efficient. CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that adds options to an ordinary Google search, providing additional links to sources such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, or MSN. Depending on the specifics of the search, results might also include links to movie, music, or book search engines.

It's hard not to like the link to the Wayback Machine, which enables users to see pages that have vanished from the Net. The software filters out advertisements, numbers your results, and can block specific domains and sites if needed. It can also block GoogleAds, make your Google searching anonymous, and force Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Calendar to load in secure (HTTPS) pages.

As privacy concerns grow more prominent in the public consciousness, and the desire to control all aspects of your browsing environment increases, the abilities that CustomizeGoogle confers on its users are quickly moving from "useful" to "must-have."