Thursday, July 27, 2006

Searching the internet with Firefox

Hmmm, I think I need to spice up my blog somehow... Fill it with exciting stories and useful information, you know what I mean. :D

There's nothing really exciting to tell, so I'll try it with something useful. This is actually supposed to be a blog about knitting (or traveling, but I'm not doing much of it, although I'm hoping that I will be able to relocate soon), but right now I'm really not able to teach you anything that I haven't seen being explained a lot better on some other website, so I will talk about possible ways to speed up your search when you're looking for something on the internet (I just hope I'm not boring people with trivialities that everybody knows anyway... :o ). Anyway, here goes.

First of all, you need to use the Firefox browser. It's a safer and faster browser than the Internet Explorer and I can only recommend everybody to download and install it if you haven't done so yet.

If you have installed it, you may notice that the creators of this browser have been so kind to have included some useful links into the bookmark collection.

Go to bookmarks. Open the bookmark manager. Go to something called "quicksearch". There you will find a collection of links that are useful when you are looking for information on the internet. For example Google. Look for "Google Quicksearch". The Address will be

The description for this link will say: "Type "google " in the location bar to perform a Google search"

What does this mean?

If for example you are looking for more information about the vicious grab attack (edit: or should I rather call it a "grope attack"? :D ) of Bush on the lovely chancellor Merkel (har, har, har :D ) you hit CTRL+ L, a hot key that puts your cursor in the location bar, type "google bush grabbing merkel" (without the quotation marks) and you will end up with the same Google results as when you had typed and then "bush grabbing merkel" in the Google search bar. Best thing is to modify your tab setting so that a new tab will be automatically opened whenever you type something into your location bar. Move to the new tab and when you have finished close it with CTRL + W.

I hope you all have been able to follow me as far as now. Now, this does not only work with Google (and it's other search functions, e.g. for images, etc), but also with a lot of other search engines, dictionaries and websites like Altavista, Yahoo, Wikipedia,,, etc.

How does it work with the other websites?

I'll explain it with an example. Let's do it with Wikipedia. Go to and look up a word, let's say "serendipity". This will lead you to this page

What you will do next is substitute "serendipity" with "%s". Store the new link

Now you have to assign a keyword to it. Go to bookmarks, highlight the link, make a right click with the mouse and the context menu opens. There should be something like "features, characteristics, options" (sorry, I don't have the English version, I have to guess what it's called). Go there. A little window should open. Give the link a keyword, like "wiki". Next time you want to look up something in Wikipedia you only have to type "wiki " in the location bar.

You can do it with any of the aforementioned websites (and probably many more). The keyword also works for any kind of websites, even if you don't want to search for anything. You just have to bookmark the website and assign a keyword to it, that's all.

Another possibility is to use the search engines that can be added as plugins. You can move to the search bar by hitting CTRL + K, but if you want to use another search engine you have to switch to your mouse and change it. It's up to you what you prefer.
I'm not going to talk a lot about extensions now, because I want to watch TV now and work a bit on my pink top :D, but two that I find quite useful when I'm doing some research on the internet is Aggregate Yahoo! & Google and CustomizeGoogle. The former combines the Google search with a Yahoo search and the results of both search engines is displayed on one page. The latter offers a list of other search engines that you can use if the Google search wasn't so helpful.

Ok, that's it. :D

Edit: The keyword can be also just be a letter, it doesn't have to be a word. And try it with other the other Google search engines. I know it works for images, too. For the German Google for images, the URL looks like this: Give it a keyword and voilà!

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