In this day and age, it’s all about search. Big companies fight over users’ searching preferences, and the users themselves are getting more and more used to finding everything online, and fast. While search algorithms and options are improving every day, there’s more to search than just Google.
Many people tend to search Google or Bing when they’re actually after results from different websites, simply because it’s faster. And while there are dedicated toolbars for searching various popular websites, installing several of those is nothing more than clutter. So how do we nonetheless speed up the search process, and find exactly what we’re looking for?
Drag And Drop Search
Drag and Drop Search is an innovative way to search for a word or phrase in multiple search engines. Are you familiar with search extensions that allow you to highlight a word and search for it in a specific search engine through the context menu? Drag and Drop Search takes this idea one step further.
Every time you encounter a word or a phrase you wish to search for, simply highlight it and start dragging it around. Once you do that, the interface you see above will appear, and all you’ll have to do is drop the word in the relevant box. Once you do that, a new tab will open with your new search. You can drag the words into several squares, and then browse the results you’ve gotten in newly opened tabs.
If you check out the extension’s options, you’ll find this drop-zones map. The interface is a bit rough, but easy enough to understand. At the bottom you can control some window and tab settings, but the real essence lies within the drop zones.
The provided websites are useful, but you may want to add a few of your own or switch an existing one for a new one. So how do you do that? The extension currently doesn’t provide a super-easy way to do this (this will change in the future, hopefully), but it’s definitely doable. As an example, let’s add Amazon to the search drop zones.
To do this, go to Amazon (or any other website you wish to add), and find the search box. Right click inside the search box, and choose “Add as search engine…”.
A new window will open with a search engine URL. Before you copy this URL, go all the way to the end and check what exactly is included in it. In this example, the URL includes “=%s” at the end. If you copy and paste it as it is, it will screw up your search. If you delete the =%s and then paste it into Drag and Drop Search, it will work like a charm.
Don’t forget to change the name of the search engine as well. Once you do this, the extension will include the website’s favicon automatically in the interface, and you will be able to easily search that website by dragging and dropping.
Search Center provides another way to search multiple websites at once, using a more conventional yet somewhat quicker method than Drag and Drop Search. After installing the extension, click the globe icon to perform a search.
The extension comes with 8 built-in websites, to which you can easily add more using the “Add current website” button, or by following the detailed instructions in the Options section. After typing in your keyword, you can either middle click the desired websites one after the other, which will open all of them in new tabs without losing focus (unless you have middle click configured to do something else), or simply click on a website or press enter. You can toggle what left click and enter do from the options page.
You can also set up a hotkey which toggles a search bar. The search bar is a miniaturized version of Search Center, and appears at the top of the page when you hit the hotkey. This is another way to perform your search in multiple websites.
SlashSearch is one of those extensions that do something really simple, and yet manage to save you lots of time and annoyance. Until you install it and use it, you might not even know you need it, but once you try it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. So what does it do?
Do you often open websites only to search for things? With SlashSearch, you can hit the forward slash key (/) when you’re on any webpage, and the focus will immediately be transferred to the search box, if the website has one. Very simple, but saves considerable time. On any website, simply hit / and start typing your query. If you want, you can change the hotkey from the options.
If the website you’re on doesn’t have built-in search, SlashSearch will render its own search box when you hit the hotkey. You can use this search box to search the website using Google.
SlashSearch may take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you won’t be able to live without it.
Do you know of some other great ways to speed up the search experience? We’re waiting to hear all about them!