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July 3, 2008

Google Results in Firefox's Address Bar

Ryan Wagner from CyberNet News developed CyberSearch, a Firefox extension that lets you see Google results in the address bar. The extension adds new functionality to Firefox 3's address bar, which already shows bookmarks and other pages from your web history.

By default, CyberSearch is a little inefficient: it performs web searches as you type in the address bar and it shows Google's search results after the local results obtained by Firefox. If you type one or two letters, it's likely that the address bar will only show suggestions from your local history. For more precise queries, you should mostly see Google results. In the example below, I only had to type [new sci] to directly access New Scientist.

If you usually type your queries in Firefox's address bar, you know that sometimes Firefox sends you to the top result for your keywords (e.g.: enter [new scientist]), while in most cases you're sent to the list of search results (e.g.: the ambiguous [scientist]). CyberSearch is redundant for many navigational searches since the top results is the only one that matters and Google sends you to the top result anyway.

But there's a way to trigger the list of search results only when you need it: start your query with the special keyword "goog". Enable keywords in the options (Tools > CyberSearch Options), where you can add your own keywords that trigger results from specialized search engines like Google News or restrict the results to a single domain. For example, I added the keyword "gos" that shows Google results from this blog:

To only show search results when you start your query with a special keyword, go to Tools > CyberSearch Options, and check:

[x] Enable keywords
[x] Show only search results when a keyword is recognized
[x] Don't perform a search unless a keyword has been typed

It's difficult to determine if a result is useful without reading some snippets from the web page, so CyberSearch is great when you want to re-find specific pages from familiar sites.

This extension is based on Searchery and the same idea is used in Inquisitor, a Mac application recently acquired by Yahoo.

Other ways to search more effectively from your browser:
* Outsource Firefox's keywords to YubNub
* Tips for Google Toolbar
* Link to a page using Google AJAX Search

This blog is not affiliated with Google.