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I once was an avid Quicksilver user. I got so used to it that I don’t think I could life my Mac life without it. Then there was the news, the one that I didn’t believe was true, Quicksilver was abandoned by its creator.

Several months forward, I wasn’t able to use Quicksilver anymore. It kept on quitting under Snow Leopard. Even the latest version – that supposed to go along well with SL – quit on me as well.

Like it or not, I had to find a substitute. And what could be more perfect as a replacement than another creation by the same hands, the reason why Quicksilver was abandoned (or so they said): Google Quick Search Box (QSB).

Quick actions using Google Quick Search Box

As the name suggests, the basic function of this app is to perform searches. You could perform a local search or internet search and act on the result. Google Quick Search Box also comes with plugins to extend its functionality.

There are many possible uses of QSB. I tried to list as many as I can and managed to come up with quite a few. To be able to discuss each point in detail, I divided the list into two. In this first part, we will look at several basic actions that I use most

  1. As an app launcher: Since I use QSB to replace Quicksilver, this feature is highly coveted. To launch an application or a file, summon QSB, type a few letters of the name, and hit Enter.

    01a File Launcher.jpg

    By default, the shortcut key to invoke QSB is Command + Command (pressing Command key twice). But you can change it from the Basics tab in its Preferences (Use Command + Comma while QSB is on focus to open the Preferences window). Personally, I use the default and add Command + Space to honor Quicksilver.

    01b Preferences Shortcut.jpg

  2. To tweet quickly: This feature has been discussed before Two Geeky Methods To Do Some Quick Tweeting [Mac] Two Geeky Methods To Do Some Quick Tweeting [Mac] Read More . But I forgot to mention one thing back then: you can add more spice to Twittering by adding more than one Twitter account in QSB.

    02 Quick Tweet-1.jpg

  3. To perform Google web searches and more: Web searching is the core functionality of Google. Being a Google product, it’s only natural if one of QSB’s major features is to search the web.Type anything into the search field and QSB will give you the option to search using Google.

    03a General Web Search.jpg

    But you can do more than just general Google searches. You could tell QSB to search within a specific Google product like: Image Search, GMail, Google News, even Wikipedia and YouTube. You can see all the options by clicking on the small arrow at the right end of the search box.

    03b QSB Search Options-1.jpg

    To do that kind of search, just use the assigned shortcut in addition to QSB’s shortcut. For example, if I want to search something in the Wikipedia, I’d press Command twice (to open QSB) followed by Command + 4 (to assign the search to Wikipedia), write the search string and hit Enter.

    03c Wikipedia Search.jpg

  4. To perform a site-specific search: The previous feature is limited to predefined locations and there’s no way to edit them or add more. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get around this limitation.QSB can also perform a site-specific search, even without using the comfortable shortcut keys. Type in the site, hit Tab or Right Arrow key, type in the search string, and press Enter.

    04 Site Specific Search.jpg

What I like about QSB is its ability to learn and adapt. For example, the first time I type in “Quick”, QSB gave me QuickScale, Quicktime and Quicksilver (in order of appearance).

05a Search Quick.jpg

After few more times at attempting to launch Quicksilver, the order is reversed and displayed Quicksilver at the top followed by QuickScale and Quicktime.

05b Search Quick 2.jpg

In the next part of this article, we will look at more advanced quick actions that you can do using Quick Search Box.

Do you miss Quicksilver? What did you replace it with?

  1. Jauhari
    December 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    In Mac we trust in Google Quick Search Box we do the best ;)

  2. acepelon
    December 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Butler after Leopard was too buggy and crashed quite often. I will give the new SL QS a shot, but I love Butler. I am surprised Butler gets so little press considering its power (and cost).

  3. AndyK
    December 6, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Quicksilver works just fine. And it is faster than ever on the SnowLeopard. I have installed QS on several SL machines, and the latest version available on Google Groups blacktree forum works like a gem.

    All claims made by the internet saying SL kills QS is past, and bogus today. Give QS another shot today Jeff, and make sure you make a fresh/clean install.

    QSB is just not there yet for me. I need a launcher to launch stuff on my computer. If i wanted an internet launcher, I have Ubiquity in Firefox.

    - Andy!

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