3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser’s Default

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default search engine   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers DefaultNo matter which browser you are using, your default search engine is likely to be Google. I am not going to persuade you to change it to something else because that advice would be useless to many: we still use Google, no matter what.

This post is about modifying your browser’s default engine slightly – these modifications are likely to improve your searching experience a lot.

But first, let’s very briefly look at how we can create a new search and set it as default in our favorite browser.

How to Create a New Search Engine

FireFox (address/URL field)

  • Open about:config
  • Filter for keyword.url
  • Double click on this entry to open a dialog;
  • Edit the “ňúkeyword.url’ string

Placeholder for your search term: blank

default search engine 01   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

FireFox search box

  • Go to mycroft.mozdev.org and use the form (you can also use “Show full instructions option?” to see the tips) to create a search plugin for your search box;
  • When ready, test the plugin, generate the code and submit it to the database.

Placeholder for your search term: {searchTerms}

default search engine 02   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

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Google Chrome

  • Navigate: Settings (icon) -> Options and click “Manage”¬Ě next to your “Default search engine
  • Click “Add”¬Ě button and there provide the details:
    the name, keyword and query string of your new search engine.

Placeholder for your search term: %s

default search engine 03   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

Opera

  • Press CTRL+F12 to open the Preferences panel and click on the Search tab.
  • Click “Add” button and provide the new search engine name, keyword, URL and query string.

Placeholder for your search term: %s

default search engine 06   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

Internet Explorer

  • In the search bar, click the arrow next to the search icon and select “Search for other search engines” and there click “Create my own search provider”
  • Provide the name and query string of your search provider.

Placeholder for your search term: TEST

default search engine 04   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

Now that we know how to create a new search engine, let’s see which options we actually have.

Google “Browse by Name” Search

Google “Browse by Name” search functionality is something in between “I am feeling lucky” and regular Google search. With “I am feeling lucky” button you will always land on the actual page ranked top for your search term (by-passing Google results page). With regular search, you always land on Google results page.

With “Browse by Name”

  • For generic search terms, you land on Google search results page;
  • For “navigational” terms (where the top result is pretty much obvious), you land on the top result page.

Compare:

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=target

VERSUS

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=pillow

Note: This search will also bypass the search results page for all terms where a Wikipedia article is ranked #1. Try:

  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=war
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=dickens
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=shakespeare

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=TEST

Note: The search can be a huge time-saver but surely not for everyone. People who specialize in search (like myself) can’t use it because for them, the search results page is the most important destination.

Google Vanilla Search

Google vanilla is our old good Google we all miss so much: no “universal search” results (images, videos, etc within general Google search results page), no sidebar search options, no ads on top of organic search results, etc. Everything is crystal clean and clear:

default search engine 05   3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browsers Default

Google search query to add this search engine in your browser:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/custom?q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/custom?q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/custom?q=TEST

Google De-Personalized Search

Like I have already mentioned, Google personalizes search results to try to show you the results that you are likely to appreciate. You are free to disable this behavior and you have various ways to de-personalize your Google search results – one of which is by creating a new default search engine in your browser.

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=TEST

Are there any cool Google modifications you are aware of? Let’s have some Google fun!

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12 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

457m

As far a I can see it, you show the modifications to be made, but didn’t provide the explanation on how exactly are they supposed to help us. When I do something, I’d like
to know WHY? Or maybe I’m just not geekee enough to get it.

Ann Smarty

The benefits are up to you to decide actually. I described what each hack did and you can decide for yourself if that would be useful for you personally. I’d also advise to play with each search modification to see if you like it or not!

Geekie

I can speak for Opera because I have been its loyal fan and user since 4-5 years. With the Opera hack, you can just type the query terms in the address bar itself prefixing it with ‘gt’ to search Google. Actually there is already a ‘g’ prefix in Opera for default Google search (but you don’t need this prefix if Google is your default search engine in the browser because even without the prefix it will take you to the Google search page if you type in the terms in the address bar itself. Perhaps, for other search engines it might be helpful).

You can use this Opera hack for ANY search engine or most online services. For example, to shorten a link using bit.ly service, we go to its website, right click in the textbox in which we are supposed to copy/paste the link and click on the option ‘Create Search’. It will show a dialog box where you just have to enter the keyword. I enter ‘b’. Click OK.

Now next time I want to shorten a long link, I don’t have to go to bit.ly site every now and then. I just either add a ‘b’ in the address bar before the long link and it takes me to the page where it has been shortened OR I copy/paste the long link and prefix a b before it and it will take me to the page with the shortened link.

The possibilities are endless (think searching Amazon products right in the browser address bar itself with prefix ‘a’).

Reply

457m

As far a I can see it, you show the modifications to be made, but didn’t provide the explanation on how exactly are they supposed to help us. When I do something, I’d like
to know WHY? Or maybe I’m just not geekee enough to get it.

Reply

Geekie

I can speak for Opera because I have been its loyal fan and user since 4-5 years. With the Opera hack, you can just type the query terms in the address bar itself prefixing it with ‘gt’ to search Google. Actually there is already a ‘g’ prefix in Opera for default Google search (but you don’t need this prefix if Google is your default search engine in the browser because even without the prefix it will take you to the Google search page if you type in the terms in the address bar itself. Perhaps, for other search engines it might be helpful).

You can use this Opera hack for ANY search engine or most online services. For example, to shorten a link using bit.ly service, we go to its website, right click in the textbox in which we are supposed to copy/paste the link and click on the option ‘Create Search’. It will show a dialog box where you just have to enter the keyword. I enter ‘b’. Click OK.

Now next time I want to shorten a long link, I don’t have to go to bit.ly site every now and then. I just either add a ‘b’ in the address bar before the long link and it takes me to the page where it has been shortened OR I copy/paste the long link and prefix a b before it and it will take me to the page with the shortened link.

The possibilities are endless (think searching Amazon products right in the browser address bar itself with prefix ‘a’).

Reply

Mike

not sure this makes much sense!

Reply

Oneduhy

What about safari – both for phone and Mac?

Reply

SS

LOL,try Scroogle :P

Reply

Romit Heerani

tbs=prv:1 adding this into url makes the search results come with page previews enabled

full url : http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&tbs=prv:1&q=%s

and with browse by name also enabled :

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&tbs=prv:1&q=%s

Reply

Romit Heerani

tbs=prv:1 adding this into url makes the search results come with page previews enabled

full url : http://www.google.com/search?s

and with browse by name also enabled :

http://www.google.com/search?s

Reply

Duane Morin

As an example of why you’d want to do this, let me offer my own experience. As a Shakespeare researcher, I’m constantly looking things up on a very specific Shakespeare search engine known as Clusty (which searches the works of Shakespeare). So I plugged that engine into Chrome so that I could just highlight something, right click and search the engine of my choice. Substantially cuts down on the clicks.

http://blog.shakespearegeek.co

Reply

Duane Morin

As an example of why you’d want to do this, let me offer my own experience. As a Shakespeare researcher, I’m constantly looking things up on a very specific Shakespeare search engine known as Clusty (which searches the works of Shakespeare). So I plugged that engine into Chrome so that I could just highlight something, right click and search the engine of my choice. Substantially cuts down on the clicks.

http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2009/07/search-engine-juggling-with-google.html

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