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Searching with Chrome's omnibox

Searching with Chrome's omnibox

Searching with Chrome's omnibox

I've been using Google Chrome as my primary browser for several months now and the one feature that has really impressed me is the omnibox. It's essentially the browser address bar and default search box combined but it's more powerful than either on its own. Address autocompletion Firstly, unlike any other browser I've used, the URL autocomplete actually works and autocompletes to the URLs I want and not some obscure deep page I visited weeks ago. For example this is what I get when I open a new tab in Opera and type 'f' into the address bar:   Madness! The situation in Firefox is only marginally better and IE7 is even worse. Now compare this to Chrome: Facebook and Flickr are the two sites starting with 'f' that I visit most often and 'film 2009' is a recent search I made starting with 'f'. Chrome shows me just what I need and no more. Searching Searching Google from the omnibox is a doddle (just type in your search and press enter) but it also permits searching other websites. For instance, say I want to search for a photo on Flickr, I simply type 'fl': ...press tab... ...type my search terms... ...press enter and voila! How does it work? It's kinda magic but essentially each time you perform a search on a website, Chrome recognises the format of the URL and then allows you to search that site directly from the omnibox. This works for Amazon, Wikipedia, Plus.net... pretty much any site. And the neat thing is you can customise the keyword used for searching by clicking on the spanner icon and going to Options -> Basics -> Default search -> Manage. I often have to look up functions on the PHP website and all I have to do in Chrome is open a new tab and type "php explode" and I'll be taken straight to the manual page for the explode() function. The really clever bit That's all well and good for sites that have good site search but it's useless for sites with poor search. The Mozilla Developer Centre, for example, has rubbish search and yet I need it all the time to look up JavaScript functions. So instead I use the power of Google to search the site and take me straight to the first result. To do this yourself, first you need to craft the URL to do the appropriate search. Use this URL http://google.com/search?q=site:[url]+%s&btnI=Lucky but replace [url] with the URL of the site you want to search (for example community.plus.net/blogs/ for this website). The '%s' is a placeholder to tell Chrome where to insert your search terms and the 'bntl=Lucky' tricks Google into thinking you clicked on the "I'm feeling lucky" button rather than the standard search button. Now click on the spanner icon in Chrome and go to Options -> Basics -> Default search -> Manage -> Add and enter a descriptive name, a short keyword and the URL you crafted above. For my Mozilla search I used

Name: MDC JavaScript Keyword: js URL: http://google.com/search?q=site:developer.mozilla.org/En/Core_JavaScript_1.5_Reference+%s&btnI=Lucky

Now I can just type 'js string' into the omnibox, press enter and I'm taken straight to the manual entry for the JavaScript String object. I think the omnibox rocks. Now can comeone please write an add-on that replicates it in Firefox?!

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I use Firefox with the Oldbar addon and that does exactly what I want
You can use the %s variable in Firefox to create smart searches. I use it to locate problems, tickets, jobs, tasks etc. in Workplace (the system we use at work). It's great, you just type 'problem {problem_ID}' into the address bar and it opens the relevant problem. There's also this - http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/smart-keywords.html
Grafter
I'm hooked on Chrome. Every time I go back to firefox it bugs the hell out of me. Speed is the main reason (especially on my clunky work laptop), but I also find the usability and cleanliness of the UI make it hard to go back. I was a big extensions user in firefox, but I don't really miss them in Chrome. Nice blog anyway Tam. Ian
Grafter
I'm using SRWare "Iron" as my browser.... a privacy-issue-free version of Chrome (Chrome with the phoning google aspects neutered!). I'm still officially using Firefox as my default, but at least half the time, I use IRON, and find it so speedy! Mike
Grafter
Missed on giving the link to Iron... http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php