The current version of this entry is here: Firefox Tweaks: Search from your location bar

Back in the day, any time there was any problem to be solved, I coded a way and found a faster way to get stuff done. Back when I was really into Texas Hold’em in school, I was analyzing opening hand strengths against various numbers of opponents. I got the idea from my friend, Matt, who actually wrote a PokerBot. Anyway, what did I do once I decided which opening hands were worth playing from which positions around the table? I wrote a quick trainer program in perl to help me memorize them. What did I do when I finished a research project for my Language and Culture class? I wrote a perl script to organize my sources, of course. Oh yeah, I was a geek. But I got sh*t done.

After NOT being a programmer for 5 years, I felt really muddle-brained while I was writing that javascript pinyin tool a while back. I’m embarrassed to say, I spent EIGHT hours working all of the kinks out of it. Not cool at all. I’ve come to a point in my life where I really can’t save time by coding stuff anymore…

But, I can save time by tweaking Firefox!


Here’s what I did: I removed the google search box, and set it up so anything I type in the location bar that isn’t a URL gets google searched. But, if I type “amz” first, it searches Amazon; if I type “wp” first, it searches Wikipedia; and if I type “imdb” first, it searches IMDB. Wanna know how I did it?

1) First, get rid of the search box. When you’re done you won’t need it. First go to View, then Toolbars, then Customize. That will pop up a box with all of the possible wigits you can select. Then you click on the search box in the upper right portion of your Firefox window and drag it into that box. There, no more tiny search box wasting valuable screen space.

2) Since you no longer have a search box, now you have to make your location bar act as one. This will make Firefox perform a Google search whenever you type something other than a URL into the location bar. Type “about: config” into the location bar. Then you select “keyword.url” and enter “http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&q=”. Now whatever you type into the location bar that’s not a URL will do a Google search. You have to exit and re-start Firefox for this to take effect.

3) The last step is to set up bookmarks with keywords. This will let you do searches on specific web pages from the location bar. You can make them for as many sites and you want. I’ve already made search bookmarks for Amazon.com, IMDB, and Wikipedia. We’ll start with Amazon. Go to Amazon.com and search for “voice recorders”. It will take you to this URL: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/<br />104-8870216-0509507?url=index%3Dblended&search-option=<br />search-amazon&amp;field-keywords=%s&Go.x=0&amp;Go.y=0&Go=Go
Bookmark the page. Then, go to your bookmarks and right click on your new bookmark. Select “Properties”, and replace the “voice%20recorder” part of the address with %s. Then, under keyword, type “amz”. Now, if you were to type “amz harry potter” into your location bar, it would do a search on Amazon.com’s page for “harry potter”. Useful, no?

My Search Bookmarks
Location:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/
104-8870216-0509507?url=index%3Dblended&search-option=
search-amazon&field-keywords=%s&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go
Keyword:amz

Location:http://imdb.com/find?q=%s;s=all
Keyword:imdb

Location:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:search?search=%s
Keyword:wp