Surf smarter with smart Suggestor

Improve your searches with this free Internet Explorer add-on.

Smart Suggestor is a free browser widget designed to speed up and improve your searching, sharing, and shopping activities. It can suggest similar sites to the one you're visiting, translate pages quickly, share sites via popular social media such as Facebook and Twitter, access Google Maps and similar features, and alert you to price changes when you're shopping. We tried the Firefox extension, but Smart Suggestor is also available for IE and Chrome.

OK, we know how you feel about software that adds toolbars to your browser: you like one or two of the features but don't care for the Venetian blind effect on your browser window. Smart Suggestor isn't a toolbar; it merely adds icons to the Navigation Toolbar, chiefly a menu icon at the far right end. We opened the Options, which let us configure the Smart Suggestor Bubble, a pop-up that accesses the add-on's features, as well as set our preferences for Search Results and other options. The Smart Suggestor Web site offers a video tutorial, but it's easy enough to get the hang of the program's features simply by using them. Double-clicking anywhere on the interface opens and closes the Smart Suggestor Bubble. This cluster of quick links let us search the Web, Google Images and Maps, Yahoo Answers, YouTube, and similar sites as well as translate sites or copy selections to the clipboard. At the top of the browser window, a slim bar offered suggestions for searches we might be interested in, a feature we could toggle on and off from the interface. Clicking any of these suggestions opened a compact pop-up window containing search results, including images, as well as icons accessing Smart Suggestor's other features; clicking on any search result opened the target page in a full browser window.

Search assistants, "smart" or not, have been around for some time, and they have their uses. Smart Suggestor is one of the better implementations of the idea we've yet seen, especially if you use sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube a lot during the day. It's also less of a load on your browser than the typical add-on search toolbar, at least from a visual standpoint. It's well worth a try.

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