I drove by a lemonade stand in rural Kentucky and was offered a free Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) toolbar with my cup of liquid sweetness. OK, so maybe I'm stretching a bit, but it may not be long before Google's attempts to blanket the online community with its browser toolbar get to that point.

On Wednesday night, Google announced that it's teaming up with Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) to offer the Google toolbar on free downloads of Adobe's popular Shockwave player software. The Google toolbar offers browser-enhancing applications including a spellchecker, a pop-up blocker, and a translator, but the big thing for Google is that it also includes a Google search box, to make sure that inquisitive surfers are never too far away from hitting up the search king for destination links.

There's clearly money to be made here. Adobe collects a little bit of coin for every convert. Now that there are several companies bidding for Adobe's eyeballs -- including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) itself, as it looks to keep its Internet Explorer browser free of rival toolbar leeches -- Adobe and other popular software gateways are the lucky beneficiaries of the lucrative world of paid search.

Google isn't the first search heavy to crave Adobe's audience. Two years ago, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) was looking to broaden the use of its own toolbar by attaching it as an option with Acrobat Reader downloads. But Google has been especially aggressive in placing its toolbar all over, whether it's pre-bundled in Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) computers or offered as an option when a user downloads Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) applications.

Mr. Softy needs to be a little more assertive here to keep up. It can't assume that its operating-system software and browser are sacrosanct to others. It no longer has a Teflon billboard. Rivals are wallpapering over it. No, this isn't a cheap game to play, but all of the players have billions in the bank.

Hurry up, Microsoft -- that lemonade stand won't be dishing out pure refreshment forever.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Google, and it would be his homepage if it weren't for Fool.com taking up that piece of real estate. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.