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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5 Web Browsers
It was fairly incredible to me that Safari still does not support extending its search bar with additional search engines beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo, or that it does not support searching from the address bar like every other modern browser. There have been SIMBL-based extensions that add these missing features, but many of us shy away from these because they seem somehow unclean.

Thanks to Apple's official extension API introduced in Safari 5, there are now several native and free extensions that alleviate, if not entirely eliminate, these Safari shortcomings. The one I wrote is called PopSearch. It makes adding arbitrary search engines to Safari pretty easy; and using them, fast and convenient.

Now, you have to understand that native Safari extensions are not allowed to modify the address bar or the search bar, so PopSearch will still not let you search from the address bar. Instead, it does what seemed to me to be the next best thing: when you press a customizable hotkey (Command+K by default), a small search bar pops up, where you can enter some search terms, select an engine, and press Enter to execute the search.

PopSearch has a few nice features:
  • To better approximate the address bar search feature of Firefox and Chrome, you can select a search engine by typing a short keyword before your search terms.
  • To open the search results in a new tab, you can press Command+Enter. To open them in a background tab, press Command+Shift+Enter. You can configure PopSearch to use a new tab or background tab by default, in which case these modifier keys have the opposite effect.
  • If you select some text on the page before invoking PopSearch, that text will be automatically entered into the search input field.
  • PopSearch will optionally remember your most recent search queries, so you can repeat them without typing.
  • Site-specific searches are supported using Google and Bing. This means you can quickly search just the site you are currently on.
  • You can add new search engines to PopSearch manually (by entering a search URL), or more easily by using the 'engine wizard,' which will try to detect the correct search URL after you execute a search the normal way.
  • You can customize the appearance of the search bar using CSS.
While not a perfect solution to Safari's search issues, PopSearch does improve the situation quite a bit. Once you get used to using it, it just seems like part of the browser.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This author submitted a few of his Safari extensions for consideration as hints, and I thought this one was a good representative example. There were some other interesting things and I refer you to his web site to take a look at and try them out if you like.]
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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5 | 8 comments | Create New Account
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One (but major) flaw
Authored by: victic on Mar 03, '11 08:00:17AM

You cannot invoke the extension search box by pressing Cmd+K (default combination) if your keyboard is in non-English mode (i.e. Russian).

This makes no sense - I can use Cmd+F for search or Cmd+O for open in any input mode.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: steve413 on Mar 03, '11 08:30:48AM

If I type search terms into the address bar then it does indeed do a search (on Google) and returns search results. Maybe my setup is different from yours?



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: everkleer80 on Mar 04, '11 07:33:28AM

This could be a function of your DNS servers - I set my computer to point to OpenDNS and now when I type a non-url in the address bar, it brings up the query in the OpenDNS search engine.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: Gee4orce on Mar 03, '11 09:28:22AM

You do realise that browsers that search when you type in the address bar send the URL of every site you enter to Google ? That means that Google knows not only the sites you visit from it's search results page, but also the ones you type manually.

Pretty clever. And pretty creepy.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: everkleer80 on Mar 04, '11 07:27:32AM

I doubt this is true. You may know more about this that I do, since I'm just assuming here, but I think such browsers (IE at least) only send the text to the search engine if the URL is invalid.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: dandj on Mar 05, '11 09:01:08PM

Yes, Google certainly records all URL's made through it's search engine (which pretty much includes anything you search for using Safari).

However you can suspend this operation or clear your entire history via the Google home website, www.google.com/history. You may have to login first. Or search for google web history.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: Sesquipedalian on Mar 03, '11 10:38:17AM

If you do want custom search engines in the address bar search box, I highly recommend Glims from http://www.machangout.com. It does a lot more besides this, too, and it is 100% free.



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An extension to add any search engine to Safari 5
Authored by: superking on Mar 03, '11 10:56:57AM

I use launchbar and it makes this entire post irrelevant. I can search in any search engine or searchpath I so deem to care about.

There's no point in continuing to mod the heck out of stuff when there's a way better solution; and so what if it's $15...You could afford the mac right?



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