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A bookmarklet is a small piece of JavaScript code saved as bookmarks in your browser. Every time you open such a bookmark it executes its function.

A bookmarklet can be a good alternative to a FireFox addon as it is easier to organize and backup (as a usual bookmark), faster to install (all you need is just grab a link and drag it into your bookmarks toolbar) and usually compatible with multiple browsers.

As one who searches daily (and I’d even say constantly), I am mostly interested in various ways to customize my searching and using search bookmarklets is one such way.

Easily switch between search engines: if you failed to find anything in Google, for example, switch to Exalead or Yahoo (all opens in the same tab):

Search for the selected text: select a term on a page and send a query to one of the search engines (opens in the same tab):

Search dictionaries and reference sources: select text on the current page and search its meaning and definitions:

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Customize your Google search – just a few tweaks specifically for Google search (there might be more but I failed to find them useful enough):

  • Gf=0: change number of search results to 100;
  • filter=0: removes Google result clustering;
  • Search within this domain – for sites that lack the search option of their own (based on Google site: advanced search operator) select a term and it will search for it in Google within current domain only.

Create your own search bookmarklet: use this cool tool that allows you to create a search bookmarklet and customize its behavior.

Note: the site allows to create a bookmarklet for an impressive number of search engines (many of them do not work though).

generate a search bookmarklet

Sources:

Note: all the above bookmarklets have been tested on FireFox 3.0.4. Please let me know in the comments if any of them failed to work on any other browser.

Please share your favorite search bookmarklets that I missed out!

  1. Jeff
    December 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Take a look at 1topix.com as well.

  2. ben nguyen
    December 5, 2008 at 1:52 am

    @Ann Smarty, thanks, I have tried using google for this, but it's not ideal. For one, if the forum requires registration, then google won't find anything. And two, the search results that it does find, are not as accurate as the same search performed by using the forum's own search engine. This may have to do with the fact that each forum is 'powered' by different software (phpBB, vBulletin, vBadvanced, Simple Machines Forum, MKPortal, IP.Board, FluxBB, etc.)

    You would think that someone like google would have a simple aggregator that works specifically for forums... kind of like crazedlist.org or enginesdesktop.com.

    There is a software package I found that comes CLOSE, called Web Forum Reader. Once you teach it how to log-on to a particular forum, it will automatically retrieve all the postings for offline viewing/searching. However, If you have quite a few forums, each with thousands of postings, its quite inefficient to download everything just to perform a single search.

  3. Ann Smarty
    December 1, 2008 at 3:17 am

    @Ben, good question. All what I can think of right now is to use Google site search for that.

    [site:forum1.com OR site:forum2.com OR site:forum3.com search term]

    If you search same forums often, you can create FireFox smart search for that - thus you will only have to change 'search term':

    http://www.searchenginejournal.com/3-ways-to-customize-google-search-in-firefox/7752/

    Hope, this helps...

  4. ben nguyen
    November 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Anyone know of a way to search multiple forums at once?

    I'd like to enter a search term once, but submitted to several forums. All the results from all the forums would then be combined and displayed. Anything like this exist?

  5. Jono
    November 30, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Super cool! Nice post.

  6. T.J. Mininday
    November 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Wow, very cool. This would be a great add-on to the keyword searching that is already built-in.

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