Thursday, 20 January 2005

Search addons for Internet Explorer, Firefox

I've been using a superb site, Searchy, which provides beautifully simple yet incredibly useful free search add-ons for IE - so that you can (for example) search for word1 on Google just by typing in the IE address bar "g word1", or search Amazon by typing "a word1", without having to go to those sites first. (Opera users will already be familiar with this functionality which is built into the Opera browser.) The add ons can be imported into Firefox too.

There's an excellent range of searches available on the site. Just download the plugin you want by clicking the Download button against it in the list on the site, and doubleclick the downloaded file (which is a .reg file amending your registry) to add your chosen search feature. The files are clearly entitled e.g. "Int-Movie-Database_search_with_imdb.reg" - and there you'd type "imdb" followed by the search word in your address bar to search the Internet Movie Database. I've downloaded several.

If you don't like the shortcut letter that's provided, for instance if you'd rather use "i" than "imdb", then click in the appropriate box in the Shortcut column and change the shortcut letter before clicking "Download".

Or, if you want to change the shortcut after you've downloaded the file, you can edit the downloaded file before you doubleclick it. Just rightclick the .reg file and choose Edit. Notepad should open up with the text file loaded.

Scroll across and find "please use the following shortcut: imdb" and replace the "imdb" with "i" (or whatever letter(s) you want - without the quotes of course.). And then scroll across further to where it says "[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\imdb]" and again replace the "imdb" with "i", so that it reads "[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl\i]" (without the quotes). IMPORTANT: you need to replace both occurrences. Then save the file, and doubleclick it, and Roberta's your auntie!

What's more the site will even let you add your own favourite search engine just by doing a simple sample search using that search engine (it doesn't work for anything too complicated, but is fine for many sites). Click the Example button on that page to see how to do it, it's very straightforward. I've created a few ones specific to UK sites, myself.

The author also provides easy to use tools for people to replace the automatic MSN search in IE with a Google search, or to remove all add ons in one go if you decide you don't want them anymore.

For people like me who prefer the keyboard to the mouse, it's perfect - Ctrl o, and type in g and the search word, and that's my Google search sorted; much quicker even than using the Google toolbar. Fabulous.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Searchy is really cool! Do you know of any other similar services?

On a different note, it is interesting to see how the address bar is evolving into a search bar. I think in future both of these will be merged and searching might (if it doesn't already) dominate the bar.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for the comment. No I don't know of other similar services but I'm sure there are plenty.

Yes I agree, the address and search bar will merge for sure, they are already with tools like these.