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kikin search engineQuite some time ago we reviewed a little Firefox-based search helper called Kikin. I tried it but I haven’t had it installed since then. Now checking the tool beta re-launch announcement, I was very much surprised by how the little addon has turned into an awesome multi-feature tool with lots of functionality.

Kikin is a Firefox addon that “makes the web more enjoyable, bringing all of your favorite social networks, search providers, websites and services to you, no matter where you are.”

When you have it installed you will see tiny buttons to the right of your browser screen. The buttons are broken up into two sections: permanent and dynamic.

1. Permanent Buttons

These buttons allow you to easily access the chosen websites at any time (view it as your browser bookmarks on steroids). While you can’t add as many buttons as you want (you are limited by the screen size), you can add your most favorite pages here.

kikin search engine

You can also connect it to your Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter accounts to easily access your social media timelines and post updates.

kikin firefox plugin

The + icon allows you to easily add buttons by choosing one from the available sources or providing your own URL:

kikin firefox plugin

2. Dynamic (Search Helpers)

These buttons will dynamically change based on searches you perform, webpages you visit, etc.

Page-Relevant Results

The addon will try and find more relevant pages similar to the one you are currently viewing. For example, for the “Hold It Against Me” song Wikipedia page the built-in search algorithm suggested that I:

  • Google for “Hold It Against Me”;
  • Watch the video clip on YouTube;
  • Buy the album on Amazon;
  • Get the song lyrics on MetroLyrics;
  • Read about the song on Idolator:

kikin firefox plugin

Any result will open in a handy pop-up in a foreground, where you can view video, browse through related products or copy-paste the lyrics without ever leaving the current page.

kikin search

Search-Relevant Results

For searches you perform on any site, the addon will suggest top results:

kikin search

It is unclear which sources exactly the addon is using but my guess is that it might be using its built-in index of domains per category as well as your connected social media and Google Reader accounts.

The good thing is that for many queries, the addon will suggest alternative results. For example, if you search Google for , Google will only find anything related to “Amazon” whereas Kikin will suggest checking out “eBay” as well.

kikin search engine

The above feature makes me think Kikin would work well for finding inspiration as well as a discovery tool.

My Personal Issues With The Tool

  • More Control Over Search Sources: As much as I love smart tools that “know better” what I really want, I still prefer to have at least some control over what I am looking for and where I am looking. There’s a way to add multiple sources to the “bookmarks” panel but for the search result panel, you can only remove sources – you can’t tell the machine where you prefer it to search. For example, I’d like to see more Twitter search results there (maybe trending links for any keyword I search). Someone would probably like to see more media results (videos and images), etc.
  • Major Distraction: This may be my own personal take but I find myself being distracted by the tool while I am working. I just clicked the “Quora” icon in my Kikin sidebar and spent at least 40 minutes browsing topics and questions. Then I remembered I was writing a post. However, I assume that’s the problem with any tool that is aimed at giving you more information as you browse.

All in all, it’s a very interesting tool that definitely deserves a test drive. Let me know what you think!

Note: I have just found that they are running a charity initiative to help Japan, so you may want to check that out as well: Support Japan With Kikin.

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