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September 9, 2006

Easy Way to Access Google Sites

Many Google product names have become synonymous with the word itself. Maps means for many people Google Maps, analytics means Google Analytics. Search results reflect that. If a Google product is named "Google X" and you search for X, there's a big chance that the first result will be the site of that service.

Google has a feature called "Browser by name", included in Internet Explorer or Firefox if you have Google Toolbar and in Firefox 2.0 (no need for Google Toolbar). If you want to add it to Firefox 1.5, follow the tip #2 from my list of Firefox tips.

"Browse by Name helps you find a site even when you don't know its URL. Just type the site name into your browser address bar, and Toolbar will take you there automatically. For instance, try typing oxford into the address bar to go directly to the university's home page at If you type in something that doesn't have an official home page, like digital cameras, Browse by Name will automatically show you search results for that term."

And it's interesting to see that if you type maps in the address bar, Browse by Name will send you to Google Maps, although maps is a general term.

Here's a list of product names that send you to Google if you type them in the address bar. This is a simple way to get to Google's sites and it's faster than using bookmarks.

image maps local
video groups froogle
desktop writely picasa
earth blogger scholar
gmail talk alerts
analytics sets trends
labs suggest more
pack checkout toolbar

Although Google sites are the top results for the next keywords, Browse by Name sends you to Google search: spreadsheets, blog, notebook, pages.

It's really interesting to see simple English words transformed into Google brands. Google has become a word, after being just a brand and now simple words become brands. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, all I know is that if I type more in my address bar, I'll get the list of Google products and that's really cool. More to come.


  1. Cool, I never knew that. I just have one big google folder in my bookmarks toolbar with all of their services linked to in it.

  2. Works only if Google is in English by default in your browser, of course...

  3. I've noticed a lag though when navigating by just putting words in the address bar instead of a url. Putting "gmail" instead of takes longer than the direct url for me. Also, I can get the direct link to make it go faster by putting in "gmail" and then hitting ctrl + enter since that adds the www and the com automatically.

  4. Of course there's a small lag. You send the query to Google, it decides if it shows the search results or sends you to the first result.

    keyword [enter] -> google ->
    (a) is it a general term? -> show search results
    (b) otherwise -> show the first result

    keyword [ctrl-enter] -> (local auto-completion of the URL) -> go to the site

    Unfortunately, or are not Google sites.

  5. Browse by name has been in Firefox by default since Firefox 1.0 I have been using Firefox since version 1PR and Google is preset to browse by name. I find this very useful.

  6. You're wrong on that one. What you saw was "I'm Feeling Lucky" -> always send the user to the first result. This is a little bit different.

  7. There is another way, I think is better, I add all the important sites I use by adding those bookmarks to the "Bookmarks Toolbar Folder" and changing their names in the properties e.g, Google Analytics as GA and so, so I have a number of these names, so I just click them without have to type anyname on the browser window. Takes it to the sites much faster. It stays as a Toolbar with these short names.

  8. To continue this idea, there is an excellent tutorial on the
    art of keyword bookmarking at lifehacker.

    Keep up the googlicious work.

  9. I see some legal problems for Google here. Some companies may feel disadvantaged against some of the Google services.

    Just like the problems Microsoft faced in the past while trying to embed a pack of apps in Windows. Sounds too much like the same thing going on here.

  10. I hate Browse by Name as I prefer to determine the site I want via the search results, yet there does not seem to be a way to turn the 'feature' off - anyone have a clue?

  11. Using Firefox 2?
    See the tip #2 from this list.

    The URL for "I'm feeling lucky" is: .

    If you use the toolbar, you can disable that from the settings.