Firefox Add-ons for Better Search


Firefox add-ons can provide great tools for bloggers, web-designers, SEOs, and other netizens to ease their job. Some of these add-ons may be very simple while others may introduce features that can compete with professional software.

Today I'm going to explore some the best add-ons for web research. This tools may be useful for professionals as well as people that want to broaden their knowledge.

Duckduckgo Plus

DuckDuckGo (DDG) is unusual search engine in the sense that it avoids personalization for the sake of keeping users' privacy. Now, In order to compensate this limitation DDG offers different tools like ambiguous terms clarification and !bang suggestions.

DDG Plus is an official DDG's Firefox add-on that adds DDG as the default address bar, search bar and right-click search engine. Previously, I enumerated the advantages of setting DuckDuckGo as the default address bar search engine. In addition, one may tweak the browser to show the DDGs Zero-Click Info box on top of Bing and Google search results or to access websites from the address bar by only without typing their full URL (through the 'I'm feeling ducky' feature).

Search Bar Add-ons

Firefox Search Bar was designed to abbreviate the process of web-search. However, for people who used to search in multiple search engines this feature is inefficient. "Dr. Evil's" fantastic add-ons challenged this issue and turned Firefox search bar into a one-stop for web-searching. First, the Organize Search Engines add-on enabled the hierarchical ordering of engines. Second, Search on Engine Change combined the selection of search engine and actual search into one action.

The Web Search Pro (WSP) extension integrates the previous add-ons in addition to some other features. One of this extension features is the ability to hilight a text and send it to one of the search bar engines through the context menu (like the Context Search add-on). WSP also integrate the developer's original addon Drag & DropZones. In addition it has some tweaks like clearing the search bar and returning to the default search engine after every search, and reusing tabs for repeated searches.

WSP support three file formats: Mycroft, OpenSearch, and Sherlock format. The last is not supported by Firefox and so the Sherlock search plugins it recognized only by the WSP search bar (The other two formats plugins will display in both Firefox and WSP search bars.) In addition, WSP has a plugins directory that has some integration with the add-on. However, as the developer discontinue the maintenance of this add-on it will probably go down in the near future. In addition, the directory contain only Sherlock plugins and as far as I know they are not supported by any live software. (Although they may be converted into Mycroft plugins with minor modifications.)

Searchbar Autosizer is a good add-on for people who like to formulate complex queries streight from the search bar. This add-on will expand the search bar gradually as you type or immediately on the first strike. It also has an option to clear the search bar or revert the default engine search after each search.

Manage Your Information With Categorize

Categorize is a one stop shop for personal information management. This add-on will add toolbar with buttons for one's bookmark, read later, and history lists. In addition, one may filter these lists by keywords or even customize buttons with predefined keywords. Categorize will also provide a convenient interface for switching between bookmarks, history and external sidebars like Diigo or Delicious.

However, the main agenda of this add-on is its method to categorize bookmarks. Although it looks innovative, this method just provides alternative way to manage the bookmarks tree. Using a syntax to articulate the position of a node in the bookmarks tree (e.g. SEM>PPC>AdWords>Bidding>"Why Google Adwords Advertisers Should Tweak Their Bids"), this method supposed to ease the management of brunched bookmarks trees. Since this method maps the tree in a textual format, one may search for a path by keywords in order to to find the right folder for his bookmark. That way one may find duplicate or folders and restructure the tree on the fly.

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