Searching from browser – Firefox quick searches and Chrome search engines

Searching from browser instead of opening search engine site

Some new browsers have a Search field (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, f.ex.), it’s located at the top right part of the browser window, next to the address bar. This is a nice little feature, you can select a search engine, type the search terms and submit. Then search engines site is opened with results. Usually suggestions are shown as you type.

Mozilla Firefox search boxIt’s a nice usability feature that can speed up your tasks, and you can add various search engines that fit your favorite browser.

But I prefer to do things from the address bar (yes, that one on top). There are two reasons – one: I have only one keyboard shortcut to use (Alt + D), and two: I can type continuously, selecting the search engine and entering the search term in one go.

So if I need to translate something from German, I copy the text to clipboard (Ctrl + C), focus to address bar (Alt + D), type in “de-en “, paste (Crtl + V) and hit enter. It takes longer to read this sentence than to perform the task. :)

I can easily search the site I am visiting using Google if it doesn’t have the search functionality, and so on.

Firefox quick searches and Google Chrome search engines

Quick search configuration windows comparison

In Mozilla Firefox there are so called “Quick searches” and in Google Chrome “Search engines”. I have to say I prefer the way Firefox does it, since those are plain bookmarks that you can copy/paste and export/import. In Chrome you have to click through the menus. But in way they are configured and how they work, they are essentially the same.

There is a keyword that you type in the address bar, and the term you type afterwards is placed where “%s” is in the configured URL.

You create them in different ways though.

How to create a Firefox quick search bookmark and add Google Chrome search engine

In Firefox, go to the Bookmarks menu, and choose Organize Bookmarks. Library window will open, select a folder from the tree on the left where you want to keep your quick search, right click on that folder and choose New Bookmark.

In Google Chrome, click on the wrench, and choose Options. Go to the Basics tab, find the Default search section and click on Manage button. Search Engines window will open, and then Add button. Your custom search engines will be listed under “Other search engines”.

From this point on, the configuration is the same in both – the field URL is equal to Location, and you can skip Tags in Firefox.

So here’s a couple of these that I use everyday, maybe you will find them useful.

Searching

Perform Google search on the site you are currently visiting

If you like to check if the current site has something you are interested in, but don’t like or have time to explore the site.

Google Site Search

site

javascript:void(location.href=’http://www.google.com/search?&q=site:’+location.href.split(%22/%22)[2]+’ ‘+%s)

Search music artist on AllMusic

AllMusic Artist Search

amg

http://www.allmusic.com/search/artist/%s

Wikipedia search

Wikipedia

wp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%s

Tools

Check if the site is down for everyone or just you

Down For Everyone Or Just Me?

down?

http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/%s

Network tools ping

Network Tools Ping

ping

http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=ping&host=%s

Network tools traceroute

Network tools traceroute

tracert

http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=trace&host=%s

Network tools lookup

Network tools lookup

lookup

http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=lookup&host=%s

Translating

My mother tongue is Serbian, I mostly use English in my work, and I live in Vienna, where German is commonly used language. As you may imagine, I have a lot of translation tools I use.

Translate from Serbian to English

Translate sr-en

sr-en

http://translate.google.com/#sr|en|%s

Translate from English to Serbian

Translate en-sr

en-sr

http://translate.google.com/#en|sr|%s

Translate from English to German

Translating from Serbian to German and the other way around does not give the best results. I guess it has to do with the way Google Translate service is working.

Translate en-de

en-de

http://translate.google.com/#en|de|%s

Translate from German to English

Translate de-en

de-en

http://translate.google.com/#de|en|%s

The Free Dictionary Search

I’m not sure if this comes with Firefox by default, but anyway…

The Free Dictionary Search

dict

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dict.asp?Word=%s

At the end

While you can certainly achieve all of these things in another way, I find such little productivity tools really neat. And since they make these tasks easy and quick, I can do more.

If you are hungry for more, check out Lifehacker’s Geek to Live: Fifteen Firefox Quick Searches.

Bojan Bjelić
Working hard on bunch of stuff, positive future above all. I'm blogging mostly about software, productivity and digital world.

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