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.
It’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
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.
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.
Name: Google Site Search
Search music artist on AllMusic
Name: AllMusic Artist Search
Check if the site is down for everyone or just you
Name: Down For Everyone Or Just Me?
Network tools ping
Name: Network Tools Ping
Network tools traceroute
Name: Network tools traceroute
Network tools lookup
Name: Network tools lookup
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
Name: Translate sr-en
Translate from English to Serbian
Name: Translate en-sr
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.
Name: Translate en-de
Translate from German to English
Name: Translate de-en
The Free Dictionary Search
I’m not sure if this comes with Firefox by default, but anyway…
Name: The Free Dictionary Search
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.