Firefox Quick Search Bar – Easier Search Engine Access

I have a hard time seeing much difference between a quick search bar, and simply clicking on the bookmark for your favorite search engine; the bookmark route only takes one extra click …

Firefox’s search bar offers direct access to one search engine and pulldown access to all configured search engines. One search engine is always selected as the default search engine and used for searches unless another is selected manually by the user first. Users who often switch between search engines may like the new Firefox add-on Quick Search Bar which replaces the standard layout of the search bar.

The add-on replaces the search bar with icons of the supported search engines. A click on a search engine icon turns the display into the standard search form which means that the number of clicks to perform a search remains the same.

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl-E (Ctrlcommand K) activates the first search engine in the list which means that it works exactly the same as before.

firefox quick search bar

Only some of the available search engines may be displayed directly. This depends solely on the width of the search box in the Firefox interface. The remaining search engines are shown with a click on the down icon on the right side of the search element.

A middle-click opens the select search engine in a new tab. This behavior can be changed in the program preferences.

A right-click on the search bar opens a context menu with options to manage the installed search engines and to access the add-on’s preferences.

The Manage Search Engines List can be used to add or remove search engines. The available search engines can be sorted easily and the change is shown directly after the window is closed. New search engines can be dragged and dropped on to the search bar as well.

quick search bar

The add-on preferences are extensive and offer several interesting options. It is for instance possible to enable mouse wheel scrolling of search engines, select another default search engine for the search keyboard shortcut and to change backgrounds and dividers. A slight problem is the inability to change the search engine icon which only becomes apparent if two search engines from the same company are displayed (for instance Google Search and Google Encrypted Search).

Quick Search Bar is a handy add-on that helps Firefox users saves clicks when searching with different search engines. The extension is only compatible with Firefox 4.

© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2011. | Permalink | Add to, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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