NEW YORK - Citigroup Inc. introduced a free downloadable toolbar on Tuesday that is meant to make it easier and faster to surf and shop the Internet.
The toolbar provides single-click login, registration, form filling, searching, and comparison shopping. It also will allow the user to filter or forward e-mail.
It was the latest in a series of announcements from Citigroup about online financial products for consumers that can be accessed from anywhere. Last month Citigroup announced it was teaming up with America Online Inc. to build a set of payment products, and with Yodlee.com to start an account aggregation service. It had previously announced finance.com to give subscribers financial advice and to let them shop for loans, and a small business portal called bizzed.com.
The toolbar, powered by Redwood City, Calif.-based Obongo Inc., is server-based, so a user can access a personal verion from any computer with Internet access.
The toolbar takes less than a minute to download from www.citibanktoolbar.com and appears at the bottom of the user's Web browser. There it can be customized to reflect personal preferences, so users can have single-click login to their favorite sites and single-click form filling and registration of shipping and billing information. They can also use the toolbar to comparison-shop for products across thousands of merchants, see consumer reviews of the most popular products, and manage their e-mail.
The Citibank Toolbar will also include special functions to allow access to Citigroup and Citibank financial products and services.
Privately-held Obongo was founded in March 1999 to eliminate obstacles that users face on the Web. It launched its first product - the Obongo bar for the PC - in March.
The company has offices in New York, London, and Bombay. It has received financial backing from Sequoia Capital, Merrill Lynch, Atlas Ventures, and Verisign.