Google Chrome’s Omnibox (or the address bar) is not something new to you and me.It allows us to navigate to a webpage or search the web from the address bar. And yeah, it even acts as a search engine to browse your own search and Chrome browsing history.
But did you know that it’s much more than just an address bar? That it can easily boost your productivity by helping you create and add your own custom search engines?
If you’re a Web 2.0 fanatic then I’m pretty sure that you often use the search engines by the popular (and biggest) web 2.0 sites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc. But the problem is, every time you want to use its search feature, you have to actually visit those websites and then use its search function.
Of course, Google Chrome automatically adds all those custom search engines when you visit those websites (even if you don’t want to). That is, when you visit Amazon.com and uses its search engine, Chrome automatically adds a custom Amazon search to its list of search engines.
It’s a nice feature, right? Well, not necessarily. The problem arises when you need tailored search results and a custom shortcut key (or known as the keyword in Google Chrome’s custom search engines).
For instance, my favorite search engine is Google and the default search engine in Chrome is Google itself. But since I live in India, Chrome automatically sets Google India (Google.co.in) as my default search engine even though I want to use Google.com as my primary search engine.
Again, they show personalized search results by default which I don’t want. So the solution is… to add our own custom search engines to Google Chrome. You can add, edit, remove and manage your Google Chrome search engines from Chrome > Settings > Search.
Or, directly from Google Chrome’s address bar. Just right-click in the address bar and click “Edit Search Engines…”.
And then you’ll see a list of custom search engines. It’s categorized as Default search engines and Other search engines.
Now you can add your own custom search engines (as many as you want!) by clicking on the “ADD” button under “Other search engines”.
Add a new search engine: Enter a label for the search engine.
Keyword: Enter the text shortcut you want to use for the search engine. You can use the keyword to quickly access the search engine via the address bar.
URL with %s in place of query: Enter the web address for the search engine.
It may sound very simple but you really can do A LOT more things than you can imagine just because you can virtually add any website to it. It’s super cool when you can define your own shortcuts to activate the above search engines, and I personally guarantee that it WILL boost your productivity.
I have created custom search engines for Wikipedia Search by Google, Google Cache, Google’s I’m Feeling Lucky, Google Images, Who.is, Gmail Search, Outlook.com Search, Google Dictionary, Google Site Search, iTunes Store Search, Yahoo! Finance, and whatnot.
You can find the correct URL by doing a sample search and then you have to replace the search query with “%s”.
15 Google Chrome Custom Search Engine Ideas (My Personal Favorites)
Here are some of top custom Chrome search engines that you can consider. It’s copied from my list of Google Chrome search engines. You can give any label and keyword as you want for each search engine but don’t change the URL unless you know what you’re doing.
1. Google Site Search
You can add and use this custom search engine to search the website that you’re currently browsing. I was using the Chrome extension Omnibox Site Search for this purpose but replaced with a custom search engine. Thanks to a Lifehacker tip.
Google search with clean URLs.
3. Google Cache
If a webpage is down or temporarily unavailable then use this nifty search engine to see its cache from Google.
4. I’m Feeling Lucky! (by Google)
To visit a website by just entering its name on the address bar. Just create this custom search engine and make it your default.
To search your Gmail from the address bar.
6. Gmail Contacts
To search your Gmail contacts.
To see the whois data of a domain name.
8. Google India (Or your preferred local version)
To create country-specific Google search engine.
9. Google Phrase Search
To search phrases on Google.
10. Google Chrome Web Store Search
To search Chrome web store.
11. Flickr Creative Commons Search
To search copyright free images on Flickr.
12. thesaurus synonyms
To get the synonyms of a term.
13. Internet Archive
To see the archive of a web page. Just remove the http:/https: text from the URL for this custom search engine to work.
14. Is Up
To check whether a website is up or not — right from the address bar.
15. My Tweets
To search my own tweets from all the Twitter accounts that I own. So you can add one or more Twitter handles of your choice and then search all of them in one go.
My Custom Search Engines On Google Chrome
Top 11 Google Chrome Custom Search Engines
Here’s a list of Google Chrome custom search engines that I believe is essential for almost anyone and everyone. It will help you search the web faster, effective, and smarter. It’s actually a list of Query URLs that you can use to create your own search engines for the following websites. Just use the following query urls and give a name and keyword of your choice.
- Google Images — https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&q=%s
- Google News — https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&tbm=nws
- Google Dictionary — https://www.google.com/search?q=define+%s
- Bing — http://www.bing.com/search?setmkt=en-US&q=%s
- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=%s
- Twitter — https://twitter.com/search?q=%s&vertical=default&f=tweets
- YouTube — http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s
- Wikipedia — https://www.google.com/search?q=site:en.wikipedia.org+%s
- Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/s/url=field-keywords=%s
- Reddit — https://www.reddit.com/search?q=%s
- Pinterest — http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=%s
Google Chrome is indeed much more than just a web browser. With over 1 billion users, it’s more like an operating system within an operating system. I’m pretty sure that nowadays people are spending more time on their web browser than they spend on the computer (minus browsing).
Got an idea for a custom search engine? Do let me know as a comment below and I will be happy to add it to the above list.
Happy Searching! 😉
First Published: November 7, 2013; Last Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018.