Smart Address Bar for Internet Explorer adds as-you-type searching to IE's toolbar. It saves time by presenting results immediately, and it helps you find things you might not have found if you used the default method. Of course, IE lets users choose whether or not to enable searching from the address bar, and the default search engine is Microsoft's Bing. Smart Address Bar replaces Bing as the address bar search tool, though you can still search Bing from the Web interface. You can activate and deactivate it from the IE add-ons manager, as well as access the developer's Web site.
We started by opening the most recent version of IE and running some familiar searches. Bing's a good search engine, but with search engines these days, it's typically six of one and a half-dozen of the other, even when they aren't all powered by Google engines under the hood; what one does well, the other misses on, and vice versa. The key to successful searching isn't using a particular search engine, it's not settling for the results on the first page or two. All too often, your best match will be on the fifth or sixth page of results, not the first.
Next we installed Smart Address Bar and restarted IE to change its settings. We tried the same searches again. Smart Address Bar began displaying results in a drop-down extension of the address bar as soon as we started typing. As we typed, our search became more specific and narrowly focused, with correspondingly specific results. Smart Address Bar also displayed results from our Favorites. We quickly found a variety of interesting sites we hadn't expected to find, one of the cool things about search-as-you-type. It also finds misspelled entries, similar words and phrases you might not have thought about, and other nearby results that often prove more valuable than what you were looking for when you're conducting a major search. Smart Address Bar is free, too, so you're out nothing if you don't like it. But we did.
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