You already know that Google Chrome has an address bar, also sometimes called the omnibox. It's the white text field at the top of the screen where you type in a website's address:
You also already know that you can either type in the URL address for a website you want to visit (e.g. http://www.google.com/) OR you can just type search terms into the address bar and hit 'Enter' to search for them. Say I want to find out information about Empire, Michigan:
I know, I know...these knowledge bombs are blowing your mind. But what you might not realize, though, is that Chrome also allows you to customize WHERE it searches based on custom keywords you create. That's a little vague, so let's take the example above and use that. Let's say I really don't want to do a full Google search for "Empire, Michigan", I just want to search Google Maps:
Or, what if I want to search through documents stored in Google Drive?
In this tutorial, I'm going to walk through how to customize your Chrome settings to use keywords to speed up your searching. You can check out the video or the tutorial below for more detail
Managing Your Search Engines- An Introduction
First off, let's learn how to customize Chrome's search settings.
1. Type chrome://settings into the address bar (or navigate to Settings in the Chrome menu).
2. Scroll down to the 'Search engine' settings and click on 'Manage search engines':
3. Next up, you'll see a list of search engines divided into sections. You'll see that each search engine has a 3-dot menu on the right side of the screen. Clicking on the 3-dot menu will give you choices to 'Make default', Edit, and Remove the search engine in question. As an example, we're going to select the Bing entry and choose Edit:
4. You'll see that we have three options, two of which are editable. Let's change the Keyword from 'bing.com' to just 'bing'; shorter keywords are easier to use. Go ahead and do this, then click 'Save'.
5. You now have the power to perform a Bing search directly from the address bar, using this keyword you edited. Here's how. Open a new tab and type 'bing' into the address bar. If you look closely, though, there's a subtle little message in the corner of the address bar: "Press Tab to search Bing"
6. Let's give it a try. I'm going to press the Tab key, then type in my search term. Notice that chrome is now telling me that I'm about to do a Bing Search:
7. Finally, if I hit the Enter key, I get a page of Bing Search results:
OK, so maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal, but we just halved the time it would have taken us to do this Bing Search. Without the keyword, I would have had to navigate to bing.com, waited for the site to load, type in my search term, hit enter, and waited for the results. Using keywords made this a two-step process, rather than a four-step process. Now, even if you're not jonesing to have Bing available on tap at all times, you can adapt this same trick to search ANY webpage with a search box.
Adding (and using) Other Websites to Keyword Search
If you go back to the list of search engines in chrome://settings, you'll see there's a section of 'Other search engines', with an ADD button next to it.
This section allows you to add other websites to your search engine list. Here's the kicker, though these websites don't necessarily need to be search engines. I've compiled an index of other websites you might want to add to your list, along with a suggested keyword:
Try adding some or all of these to your Additional Search Engines using the ADD button. You'll now be able to use the same keyword technique to directly search any of these services. For instance, let's say you want to search your email from the address bar. Type 'mail', then the tab key, then enter your search term and hit Enter:
Or maybe you want to search Google maps? Same process, just type 'maps', Tab, then type your search and hit Enter:
Or Google Drive:
You get the idea. While it does take a few minutes to set up these custom keyword searches, you only need to do in once. I've found that time investment has kept paying back dividends, as I use probably use this trick 5-10 times per day.
I first learned about this trick from this article by the How-To Geek.