Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Web search is no longer the dull boring activity it used to be. To perk up the one thing we do on the web from the moment we log on, developers continue to give us innovative ways to search, and also innovative tools to search with.
Search engines are a varied breed and also some of the tools that are used to access them. Call them search enablers or quick search aids, they are all designed to make the search process easier.
Drag & DropZones joins the gang and from all the favorable reviews it has garnered for itself, it seems to have done so with a splash. I found a couple of mentions on it when we were talking about the best Firefox extensions.
This Firefox add-on takes the idea of drag n’ drop and extends it so we can search the web quicker with the help of multiple search engines.
Sounds interesting? Let’s install this featured Firefox extension and see how it helps us manage search engines better.
Drag and Drop Your Keywords to Search the Web
I guess it’s the touch effect thanks to iPhones and Androids. Drag & Dropzones is also designed to save you a lot of typing. It’s done with the help of a large transparent grid that’s overlaid on top of the webpage you are viewing. Here’s how it looks:
And here’s how it works:
1. After installing the Firefox add-on, go to Tools – Drag & DropZones Settings and open the grid as shown in the screen above.
2. Drag & DropZones displays a grid on the right and a list of your installed search engines on the left. There are added entries for context menu actions too. The grids represent a drop zone for a specific search engine. When you are running Drag & DropZones for the very first time, all your Firefox Search Engines will automatically be assigned to individual drop zones.
3. When you need to search a web page with a specific keyword on the page, you simply need to highlight the word or phrase. Drag & DropZones overlays a semi-transparent grid on top of the current webpage. To perform the web search, you simply drag and drop the selected keyword onto the drop zone occupied by the search engine of your choice. A separate tab opens up with the results of your search.
You can also right-click on the page to bring up the semi-transparent grid.
4. You can also use the grids to hold the drop zones for all your context menu actions. The process is similar – select the keyword (for e.g. copy link location) and drop it into the relevant grid. Alternatively, right click on the page to bring up the drop zones.
Customizing Your Drop Zones
What makes Drag & Drop Zones cooler is you can customize it to your heart’s content.
1. You can add a maximum of 100 search engines (10 x 10 grid) or go for any of the other options. Each drop zone can be individually colored. You can move the little boxes around and arrange your similar search engines in bunches. For e.g. a bunch up the search engines that search visually.
2. A selection on a checkbox ensures that you can also add context menu items to the grids, which really extends the add-on.
3. Configure the various activation options and the delay settings for the overlay to appear to your liking.
4. A toolbar button (add it through View – Toolbars – Customize) allows you to toggle the Drag & DropZones on/off in case you temporarily need to do some other operations on the web page.
Adding your search engines to the default search engine bar is the only chore which you have to perform. Try Add to Search Bar [No Longer Available] for this. But that’s small stuff compared to the help this add-on provides as you go searching on the web.
What do you think of Drag & DropZones [No Longer Available] as a search engine manager? Do you think it speeds up your search? Will you add it to your list of favored Firefox add-ons?