Searching Google the way you want

posted in the late evening by Constantinos. Filed under Code, Google

This post was originally published in 2007
The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Google is awesome. I don’t even know where to start with all the features they’ve got packed in that tiny little searchbox of theirs. There’s a lot of sites that explain some of these advanced features [google.com], but I’m more interested in the ones I use regularly, or ones that make my search experience easier.

First, I’ll start with the Google by Keyboard search. I first came across this in a Lifehacker article. I liked Google by Keyboard because it allowed me to use the same keyboard shortcuts that I use in Google Reader for my search results. The best part? The post included a link to an .xml file which would enable Firefox to have ‘Google by Keyboard’ as one of the options in it’s search box!

Unfortunately, the link on lifehacker no longer works, so here’s a link to my copy of the .xml file. To install, simply download the .xml file, and save it in the searchplugins directory inside your Firefox profile directory, as per the lifehacker post instructions. To repeat:

On Windows, that path is C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins\
On the Mac, go with ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/profiles/yourprofilenamehere/searchplugins/

and then simply restart Firefox. Now at the time, I was not using Firefox’s box to search, but instead Google’s toolbar. So I went ahead and created a custom .xml file to add the button to the Google toolbar. To install it, you can simply click on this link.

But that’s not all. There’s another search feature that I’ve learned to love, and use all the time, especially since I’ve started organizing my iTunes Library. I’m talking about Google Music search, and like most ‘special’ searches in Google it triggers automatically when it detects you’re searching for something music-related. I have not been able to find a ‘home page’ for Google Music Search, which is a problem because most of my searches don’t get automatically recognized as a music search (for example I’ve recently been searching for the band called ‘Peaches‘… They’re pretty good btw. Obviously there’s no way searching for ‘peaches’ on Google will ever trigger music search).

Now what I would usually do is search for something like ‘Pixies’ (as per the Music Search example), which would always bring up the Music search link, and proceed from there. But that’s two steps I’d love to completely eliminate. So, instead, I went ahead and modified the above .xml files to directly search Google Music. To use, you can either download the firefox search plugin and follow the same directions as above, or if you’re using the Google toolbar, install the button.

I wonder if there’s an easy way of creating a script to automate this process for any arbitrary Google Search url… hmm…

One Response to “Searching Google the way you want”

  1. 1. Comment by Constantinos
    on 2007-09-19 @ 9.55 pm · Quote #2061 ·

    Incidently, you can access music search if you do:
    http://www.google.com/musicsearch?q=pixies

    I was inspired by your scripts to also start organizing my iTunes library, and music search was very helpful; my favorite way of doing this is adding a Firefox keyword bookmark. Click bookmarks->Organize Bookmark->New Bookmark:

    Location: http://www.google.com/musicsearch?q=%s
    Keyword: music

    Then all you have to do is type:

    music pixies

    and you’re magically transported to the pixies page at Google Music!

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