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firefox searchfHow often do you search the web? By profession, I use Google search no less than twice per hour, I guess. That said, I search the web constantly.

Therefore optimizing my browser for search was the first thing I did when installing it. Since then I’ve been looking for more and more ways to access the search features easily and instantly in FireFox.

Now let’s see which methods I have come up with to make my FireFox search-friendly:

1. Install the Google Toolbar

The most obvious way to access Google search.

Google toolbar

Besides allowing you to access Google search instantly, it also has a number of other handy features:

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  • search suggestions (based on your search history and/or popular queries);
  • search multiple verticals (image search, news search, blog search, etc);
  • search term highlight;
  • spell check, etc.

Its major drawback is that it only allows you to search Google (and there are other search engines and sites you might want to search).

2. Take advantage of FireFox search plugins

You can search the huge directory of search plugins or create your own (and that’s where your own imagination is your only limit). Let’s take a quick look at how you can create your own search plugin for any search engine or site you refer to daily:

  • search the site you are creating the plugin for;
  • copy the query string;
  • change your search term in the query string for {searchTerms};
  • go to mycroft.mozdev.org and complete the form as shown below;

Create search plugin

  • test (install and perform a few searches) your plugin before submitting;
  • click “generate” and you are done!

As you understand you can include any search parameters, use advanced search or play to your heart’s content to create the search that fully satisfies your needs.

3. Use FireFox “smart keywords” feature

(it allows you to search right from the address bar How To Be More Productive with Firefox Quick Searches How To Be More Productive with Firefox Quick Searches Read More ).

To create a FireFox smart keyword you need to:

  • Search any site / search engine you are interested in [keyword];
  • Copy the URL of the query string;
  • Substitute keyword in the query string for %s;
  • Go: Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks => New Bookmark;
  • Create new search bookmark the following way:

Firefox smart keywords

Alternatively, you can go to YubNub, install its search plugin and either use multiple quick searches already created there or create your own ones using a simple wizard.

4. Use The CyberSearch FireFox plugin (download it here).

Another way to search from the address bar.  It supports multiple Google services and also displays your related search history (again, it’s limited to Google only):

CyberSearch

To access different Google services, use these commands before the search query:

  • gweb – Google general search;
  • gloc – Google local search;
  • gvid – Google video search;
  • gblog – Google blog search;
  • gnews – Google news search;
  • gbook – Google book search;
  • gimg – Google image search;
  • gpat – Google patent search.

5. Tweak your FireFox about:config settings.

Yet another way to search from the address bar. (tip by FireFox facts).

  • type into your address bar about:config;
  • filter keyword.URL;
  • modify the string in there and replace it with your preferred engine search string, e.g. http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=

6. Use Search Bookmarklets

Use search bookmarklets Tweak Your Daily Searching With These Browser Bookmarklets Tweak Your Daily Searching With These Browser Bookmarklets Read More to access your preferred search engine by selecting any term on a page:

or to easily switch between search engines:

7. Search Highlighted Words With Multiple Engines

Search the highlighted word using multiple search engines: KallOut

Kallout

Kallout is a new awesome desktop application that allows you to search for any highlighted term (integrates with FireFox, Outlook, txt files, etc). With it you can choose between multiple verticals (general search, shopping portals, reference resources, etc) and search engines (Google, Yahoo, Live, Twitter, etc).

8. Search The Web (Or Any Website) With One Searchy

An experimental FireFox addon (thus you will have to login to install it). Just hit a shortcut (by default: Ctrl+Shift+K) and search without having to leave the current page. Search results will appear as you are typing your search term. To search any site, type @ before the search term and you will be shown results from the current domain:

Have I missed anything? Maybe you can find more tips like this in the MUO Firefox manual! Please add your own way to search with the FireFox browser!

Image credits: Fun with FireFox

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