Search your favorite sites instantly from Chrome’s address bar!
Chrome’s address bar is called the ‘omnibox’ because it makes search suggestions, auto-completes websites, and shows you matching results from your bookmarks and history as you type. You may have noticed those helpful features, but here’s one that’s hidden away until you call it: from any tab, you can use your favorite website’s built-in search engine — without even visiting that website first to access it!
So, how does it work? When you search a website your search term is sent to the server. The results display on their own unique page where your search term is referenced in the web address. So, if you find your search term in the address bar and swap it out for a different one, you could run a new search. But that’s not very convenient or easy to use! To make it worth your while, you would need a feature so smart that it could take your search term, bring up the search results web address and pop your term into the right spot automatically.
Google Chrome’s “Other search engines” give exactly that functionality. To find them, right click the address bar and choose “Edit search engines…” (You can also find them in Settings via the top right menu. Then, under the Search heading, click “Manage search engines…”)
Chrome can automatically add sites the first time you search them so you may find this list overflowing with search engines already. Notice that you can hover over a list item to “Make default” if you prefer another search engine to Google.
Say you want to add a search engine that’s not shown. Navigate to your site and, using its searchbar, type in a placeholder like “test123” and press Enter. When the results come up, check the address bar for that term and replace it with a “%s” (not including quotes) to show Chrome where the search term is required. Copy the entire web address to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+A followed by Ctrl+C.
Return to “Other search engines” using either of the methods described earlier. Scroll to the bottom of the list. In the left-most field, type the name of the website. In the middle field, choose a short keyword for convenience (2- or 3-letter abbreviations are a good standard). Finally, paste your copied web address into the right-most field. Make sure to press Enter or the Done button to save your changes.
Now all the legwork is done. To use any search engine, just head to the omnibox. Type your keyword followed by tab or space and then your search term. Hit Enter, and you arrive at the results page without a single click of the mouse or intermediate pages needing to load. This is truly the way of the keyboard ninja!
Below is a list of popular websites and the web address that lets you search each one. Try adding these to your search engines, choosing keywords you like, and searching them from the address bar!
Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” Feature:
~ Ricky McCallum