CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday




I do searches on sites all of the time, and Google has to be at the top of my list. According to my Google Search History I perform about 900 searches per month, which is about 30 per day. That may not seem like that many, but to me that is quite a bit.

Recently I began taking steps to increase my search productivity by trying to find things to optimize my experience. Below you’ll find a few things that should speed up how fast you can search your favorite sites!

—Streaming Search Results—

By default most search engines and websites will only display a limited number of results at a time. To display more results you’ll need to click the “Next” button located at the bottom which can become quite a tedious process.

Google tries to help people out by letting them choose how many results are displayed on the screen at any one given time which can be customized in the preferences. You can choose to have up to 100 results displayed which is what I have it set to by default. The only downside is that retrieving such a large number of results will take longer than requesting a smaller number, such as 10.

To get around this you can use some scripts for Firefox to request additional results as you get towards the bottom of the page where you would normally click the “Next” button. The new content is then appended onto the end of the current list of results, therefore making the transition seamless. The CustomizeGoogle extension for Firefox recently added this feature and put together a great video demonstrating how it works (it may help you to understand if you watch the scrollbar):

Yep! It just keeps going and going and going! The CustomizeGoogle extension is actually using a script that was first made as a Greasemonkey script called Google Auto Pager. Once you install the script it won’t actually work on a search results page until you double click anywhere on the Google site. That will activate the automatic loading of new search results.

This can go beyond just Google’s services though. The Pagerization script will actually work for a ton of popular services, but does require a little configuration. To make it a little easier I have compiled the Pagerization script to work with Google Search/Images/News/Groups/Video, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Digg, Del.icio.us, YouTube, and Twitter. Once you start using the script for those sites you’ll wonder how you ever made it without the streaming results.

Once you have Pagerization installed with Greasemonkey, you’ll know that the script is working because of a few different things. The first, and most obvious being that you’ll continuously see new results being added to the end of the site. The other way you’ll notice it working is because of the little box in the bottom-right corner that will either say “Standing” meaning that it isn’t doing anything right now, or it will say “Loading” which means it is pulling in the next set of results. Here is a screenshot that I took of it working on the Google Images site:

Pagerization

By using any of the solutions mentioned above, you would be able to start with the minimum number of search results (such as 10 in the case of Google) and it will automatically expand as you go. That means you will get the fastest initial load time as well as the benefit of not having to navigate away to another page just to see more results. This is also really great for Digg where it can normally be a hassle trying to go through pages and pages of the most recent news!

 

—Adding Wikipedia Results to Google—

The one last thing that I wanted to mention is adding Wikipedia results to the side of your Google results. For me there is always a ton of whitespace over on the side of the Google Search Results page which isn’t really being utilized for anything. To fill up some of the room you can use the Googlepedia extension which will pull up the most relevant Wikipedia page for the search that you’re performing.

The extension will also turn all of the internal Wikipedia links into Google search links so that clicking on them will actually do a search on Google for that given word or phrase. You can also make the Wikipedia article take up the entire width of the browser or you can hide it in just one click.

Googlepedia

 

—Summary—

I’m sure you’ll find a few of those search tips to be helpful because they can really increase your productivity when trying to find exactly what you’re looking for. We all have our own ways of finding information, so what do you do to find things quickly?