Focused searches in Firefox

Search linked pages in Firefox with a Google Custom Search Engine.

Here's a neat add-on for Firefox. Search Everywhere doesn't actually search everywhere; it only searches directly linked Web pages. This free extension creates a Google Custom Search Engine based on pages linked to the current page. When you enter a search term, Search Everywhere queries only those linked sites. This lets you quickly zero in on content, find hidden gems of information buried deep in large sites, and browse similar sites for related interests or content.

Search Everywhere placed its icon in the Firefox status bar in our browser window's lower right corner. Clicking this icon opened a narrow search toolbar along the bottom of our main window. This toolbar's first option is marked SiteSearch; checking it limits searches to just the target site. There's a hot-key combination, Alt + I, for this frequently used option, too. You can also select three URL extraction options: Exact, for narrow searches; Paths, which omits file names; and Hosts, which searches only hosts extracted from URLs, creating the broadest search engine. The Filter option filters out URLs that would otherwise dominate results, while Boost Exact allows hosts and paths but gives preference to exact URLs in searches. Aside from a check box to open search results in a new tab, the only other control is the program's status bar icon, which toggles the Search Everywhere toolbar open and closed.

We browsed to a Web site of interest, opened Search Everywhere, and entered a term that seemed likely to produce hits. It did, and Search Everywhere displayed them on a Google page in a new tab, just as we'd specified. All the hits were from pages directly linked to the page we'd searched, and, as we suspected, there was a lot of related or interesting content tucked away in odd corners that cursory checks would have missed. We typed the hot-key combo to activate SiteSearch and searched for the same term again; this time the results were all from the target page. One small touch: the "i" in SiteSearch is underlined to serve as a hot-key reminder.

Search Everywhere's developer, Paul Komarek, is an interesting guy, and custom Google search engines are just one of his hobbies. We're glad he found time for them, though, since Search Everywhere is just the sort of tool that can save you time as well as broaden your horizons.

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