One of the my favorite things in Firefox and Opera is having the ability to perform searches right from the location bar using keywords. In fact I’ve always removed the search box from the browser simply because I never use it. But when I found out about the Peers extension I thought it was going to be the extension that would actually get me to use the search box once and for all. I was wrong.
Ghacks uncovered an incredible extension that could very well be the best one ever created. I know, a lot of extensions have passed through the golden gates of the add-ons site, but I don’t think any of them will save me as much time as this one does.
The extension is called AwesomeSearch, which is named after the new Firefox 3 location bar (pictured above) that’s dubbed the “Awesome Bar.” With it you’ll get Google and Amazon search results intermingled with the items from your browser’s history. Here’s a video demonstration put together by the author to show you how it works.
As you can see in my screenshot the search results that are pulled in are highlighted with a blue background, and that makes it easier to differentiate what’s a search result and what’s a site you’ve previously visited. The true power of the extension, however, will only be revealed if you’re familiar with some of Google’s advanced search operators. A good example of this is what I have typed into the location bar in my screenshot, where the “site:cybernetnews.com” is the advanced search operator. By including that as part of the query it only returns results from our site. This basically gives you a nearly instantaneous way to search specific sites. Another example would be using “site:en.wikipedia.org” to only show results from the English Wikipedia site. Now do you see why this is so cool?
I sent an email to the developer with some recommendations that would make the extension even better. One of the things that came to my mind was having the ability to create keyword searches so that you can force it to only show Google results, and not anything from your browser’s history. That can be taken even further by being able to automatically append text onto the query based upon which keyword you use. For example, typing “wiki [search text]” into the location bar would actually be like performing a Google search formatted like “[search text] site:en.wikipedia.org“. That’s just an idea, but it would give people the chance to add site-specific search capabilities without the developer working overtime trying to make it compatible with dozens of different services.
The extension is currently in the experimental stage, and you’ll have to login with your Mozilla account to install it. It’s also not officially compatible with the latest Firefox 3 release, which means you’ll also need to ignore extension compatibility checking before trying to grab it.
It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten this excited about a Firefox extension! One thing that I do want to point out is that this does also search Amazon, and it uses affiliate links for the results it retrieves. It’s just an easy way to support the developer though.