When most people think of Chrome’s Omnibox, they think of it as an “address bar”, where you type in a website URL and sometimes run searches of keywords on Google. Many don’t realize that the Omnibox has so much more to offer than that. There are many things that can be done with the Omnibox, with and without extensions.
Without extensions you can bookmark pages, perform basic calculations and conversions, add various search engines for better search results, and receive alerts (security, pop-ups, extensions).
In this post, we are interested on how to further enhance the Omnibox to help speed up everyday tasks and searches with the help of extensions. Let’s take a look at Chrome extensions that can power more customized and optimized searches for better results.
Recommended Reading: 10 (More) Awesome Things Google Search Can Do For You
1. Better Omnibox
Better Omnibox is an extension that improves the relevance of your search results, thanks to a combination of your bookmarks and search history. To use Better Omnibox, type “#”, press tab, and then type your search query. When you select one of the results displayed below the Omnibox, that result will rank higher in future queries.
Usage: # [TAB or space] [search query]
2. Omnibox Site Search
Are you looking for an easy way to perform a search site for any website that you visit? With Omnibox Site Search, you can do just that by typing the word “site” along with your search query. The extension will then perform a Google search on the website you’re viewing. It’s much like using the Google site operator to search for results from a specific website i.e. site:hongkiat.com "web apps”.
Usage: site [TAB or space] [search query]
If you use Google Drive often, this extension is sure to come in handy. OmniDrive lets you search through your Google Drive from any Web page, via the Omnibox. Just type “drive” in the Omnibox, press tab, enter your search query, and choose the item (below the Omnibox) that you want to open. You’ll need to allow OmniDrive access to your Google account before you can begin using this.
Usage: drive [TAB or space] [search query]
4. Switch To Tab
If you’re someone who always have a lot of tabs open in Chrome, I’m sure you know what a pain it can be to search for a particular page through all of them. Luckily, the Switch to Tab lets you quickly search through your open tabs and switch between them, via the Omnibox. Type “sw”, press tab, and then enter one keyword or multiple keywords to narrow down your search.
Usage: sw [TAB or space] [keyword(s)]
This Quickmarks extension makes it really easy to search through and open your Chrome bookmarks. To do so, type “b”, press tab, and then type a keyword; you’ll see all of your bookmarks that match that keyword. You can press Enter to open the first bookmark or use the arrow keys (or your mouse) to choose any of the other options below the Omnibox.
Usage: b [TAB or space] [keyword]
6. History Search
As the name suggests, History Search lets you search through your Chrome browsing history. This is great if you need to go back to a page that you viewed at an earlier time or a few days prior. Just type “h”, press tab, and then the right keyword(s). Your results will open on Chrome’s history page. In History Search’s options, you can choose to open your results in a new tab instead of the current tab.
Usage: h [TAB or space] [search query]
7. Quick Search In Chrome Web Store
Does it take you too many clicks to search for something in the Chrome Web Store? Well, Quick Search in Chrome Web Store as the name suggests, makes searching through the Web Store a breeze. Once installed, you can search for any Chrome app, extension, or theme right from the Omnibox. Just type “ws”, press tab, and then enter your search query. Your Chrome Web Store results will appear in the current tab.
Usage: ws [TAB or space] [search query]
8. Search+ For Google Chrome
I don’t know about you, but Google+ is slowly growing on me. I really find its search function useful because I can find interesting articles to read, interesting posts to comment on, and interesting people to follow. Thanks to the Search+ for Google Chrome extension, this makes the search even faster. On the Omnibox, type a plus symbol, press tab, enter your search query, and then click on the result that you want to open.
Usage: + [TAB or space] [search query]
Bonus: 5 more Handy Extensions
If you think that the Omnibox is only good for searches, check out these five bonus extensions that let you do more.
Send from Omnibox
With Send from Omnibox, creating a new email message is as easy as typing in the Omnibox. In a single line you can put in who you are sending the email to, the subject and even the contents of the email. Once you hit enter, a compose window will open up (using mailto), and you’ll be able to edit or send out the message.
Usage: . [TAB or space] [email address] sub [subject] [email message]
If you’ve ever wished that you could type @username into the Chrome Omnibox to go to a user’s page on Twitter, try Twitter Omnibox. Just type "@", press tab bar, enter any Twitter username, and then press Enter to go directly to that user’s page on Twitter.
Usage: @ [TAB or space] [Twitter username]
This extension, Omnibox Timer adds a timer to the Chrome Omnibox. You can set timers for any amount of time from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to 2 hours, etc. You can also type a name or short message to go along with the timer. When the timer is up, Chrome will display a desktop notification letting you know. Additionally, you’ll also hear your timer’s message spoken out loud in your computer’s default voice.
Usage: tm [TAB or space] [time] [message]
IP from Omnibox
If you need a quick way to view and copy your IP address, try this extension called IP From Omnibox. By typing "copyip" in the Omnibox, press tab, then press enter; your IP address will be automatically copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it wherever you’d like.
Usage: copyip [TAB or space] [ENTER]
How would you like to send a tweet right from the address bar? With Chromnitweet, just type "tw", press tab, enter your tweet text, and then press Enter. That’s it, you’ve just sent out a tweet; there’s no need to go to Twitter.com or use an app. One of the cool things about Chromnitweet is that it even has a character counter, so you won’t go over 140 characters. You’ll also see a desktop notification letting you know that your tweet has been posted.
Usage: tw [TAB or space] [tweet text]
Over to You
Now it’s your turn to chime in and share your favorite Chrome Extensions that help to enhance the Omnibox. Do you use any of the extensions on this list, or do you use a different extension? Let us know in the comments.