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November 9, 2010

Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Instant Previews

You don't need to use your mouse to enable Google's visual previews for search results. Just press the right arrow key to show a small screenshot for the currently selected search result. You can navigate using the up/down arrow keys to highlight a different result and use the left arrow key to hide the previews.

Google Instant Previews can't be disabled from the settings page and, despite having a similar name, it's not related to Google Instant. If you disable Google Instant, you'll still see the magnifying glasses next to the search results, but the keyboard shortcuts are no longer available.

This feature is not yet available to everyone, but you can try it using this special page or by adding &esrch=instantpreviews to the URL of a search results page.


  1. Who needs Facebook when we've got keyboard shortcuts? (Seriously.) Now, if only the Chromium developers would see the light.

  2. I think Ctrl+F is good enough. Chrome doesn't have single character shortcuts because they're used by web apps like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Reader. Ctrl+F is more reliable, easier to remember and it's the standard Windows shortcut for searching.

  3. Hmm, I hear what you're saying about web apps and particularly value those you've listed. I also agree that ctrl+f is easier to remember and is the standard.

    On the other hand, I seem to remember reading that Chrome's main reason for rejecting FAYT is because some devs think it would be too confusing for most users if turned on by default (I agree) and would simply be yet "another" option, when Chrome wants to "just do the right thing."

    I personally feel like there's a number of "Under the Hood" options I would gladly exchange for FAYT and a mess of pottage. Or at a minimum, how about an experimental (in flags)?

    At the end of the day, I realize this can simply be done with an extension (and it has - kudos to Tokland). On the other hand, I also agree with Tokland that FAYT extensions inherently present serious limitations that a built-in FAYT option would alleviate.


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