The launch of the DiggBar on Thursday was big news. Not only for URL-shortening services, but for the idea of one site bringing some of its features along for the ride, even when a user has left it to go somewhere else.
The idea is not new, though; some services have been doing it for years. We've put together a list of some of the big sites that do it, and why it matters.
Google/Ask/Yahoo/Live Image Search
Searching for images on Google, Ask, Live, and Yahoo all bring along a framed toolbar, or a special framed bar that segments the content. When you click on an image from the results on any of these engines it keeps a little frame on the top of the page that gives you copyright and size information, along with a link to the full-quality version. More importantly though, it lets users start another search or simply hop back to the results page.
Why it's important: All routes go back to the search results--and more importantly, back to the ads that were on the page. If the company can get you to start another search, that's another ad impression. Also, from a user's point of view, it's comforting to have a quick breadcrumb trail to get yourself out of there if it's a page you didn't want to end up on, especially if it's coded to keep your back button from letting you leave the page.
Facebook has had a link sharing feature since late 2006. Only recently, however did shared links come with a navigation bar that comes with the users when they click off-site links. The bar includes who posted the item (in case you're passing along something one of your friends originally shared), as well as the option to add your own comment, or re-share it to your news feed or to other Facebook buddies.
Why it's important: Like what the search engines do for images, Facebook is doing for any link its users share. It simply adds some of Facebook's features like commenting and re-sharing, right on top of the site. It's a much bigger deal for Facebook users though, since for anything that needs a lot of real estate, they can check it out in its original location (read: out of Facebook's limited-size news feed), all without feeling like they've left the site. … Read more