When it comes to custom search engines on Chrome, I do not joke, I do not play, I do not fiddle. It’s a Very Severe Matter™ that comes up numerous occasions in our inner Android Police discussions, most of the time once I work out yet one more helpful engine that may shave off valuable seconds from our every day workflows. That is normally adopted by a ten-minute chat about how intelligent that newest trick is and the way I ought to write a ebook about custom search engines. Effectively, wanting writing a lengthy ebook then making an attempt to discover a writer, right here is a information with all of the tips, tips, and sensible concepts I’ve amassed during the last decade. That is the breadth of my data and I’ve chosen to bestow it upon you, so please, deal with it with the utmost respect.
What are custom search engines?
You are accustomed to Google, proper? That is a search engine. Browsers, be it on our telephones or computer systems have default search engines that they revert to when you do not sort a full URL within the handle bar. Say for instance, that as an alternative of “androidpolice.com” you typed “Android Police”, they’d search for that within the default search engine that comes with the browser. On Chrome (cell and internet), that is Google, however you possibly can manually change it to Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Ecosia, amongst others.
Nonetheless, on the net, Chrome presents you the choice of making your personal search engines so you possibly can carry out a search on any web site, not simply these. Perhaps you need to add Qwant or Courageous, or perhaps you need to search for an merchandise on Amazon or eBay; regardless of the purpose, you possibly can arrange your personal engine with a key phrase to rapidly set off it.
How to add a new search engine
Earlier than including any new search engine, you want to actually have a look at your URL bar whenever you carry out any search. Say I would like to discover a Pixel on Amazon, I am going to amazon.com and I sort Pixel, then I hit the search button. The outcomes present up in a new web page, with this URL:
Discover the place the phrase that I seemed for reveals up — I emphasised it in daring. Now if I have been to search for an M1 iMac as an alternative, the outcomes will load on this web page:
My question phrases at all times seem in the identical place in Amazon’s hyperlinks, and wanting Amazon altering the URL format for its total retailer, this will probably be true for any search I carry out for a lot of months, if not years to come.
Custom search engines are principally shortcuts that use this URL trick to velocity up the method. That is how one can add one for Amazon:
- On Chrome, faucet the overflow ⋮ button on the highest proper subsequent to your avatar, then go to Settings, scroll down to Handle search engines and open it. OR you possibly can merely sort chrome://settings/searchEngines within the handle bar
- Click on the blue Add button on the best, subsequent to Different search engines
- Underneath Search engine, sort the identify you need to save this underneath. Let’s go together with “Amazon”. That is principally the show identify, so you should utilize no matter you need as a result of it would not matter a lot. Be sure that to choose one thing descriptive sufficient, although.
- In Key phrase, you’ve got to sort the shortcut that may set off this search engine. It is preferable that you just choose one thing brief that is straightforward to keep in mind. Good selections: “amazon” or “amz”. Unhealthy selections: “www.amazon.com” or “searchingonamzn”. You get the gist.
- Underneath the third textual content field, URL with %s rather than question, you’ve got to comply with the instruction because it’s spelled out. Principally, that is the place Amazon’s search URL format goes, however we’ve to exchange the question phrase with “%s”. So, on this case, we sort (discover the %s as an alternative of pixel or imac):
Now faucet Add and also you’re achieved.
Above: Click on the blue “Add” button on the best. Beneath: Fill out the pop like this.
To make use of your new search engine, open a new tab in Chrome and kind the key phrase you selected. In my case, that is “amazon”, adopted by a area. The engine is triggered and it is best to see it remodel into the identify you picked for it, “Amazon”.
Amazon search engine triggered.
After that, all I’ve to do is sort the phrases I am on the lookout for, like “pixel” or “m1 imac”, and I am going to get the outcomes for my question in Amazon’s retailer.
For those who’re at all times on the lookout for gadgets on Amazon, you possibly can see how that is a lot sooner and extra environment friendly than opening amazon.com first, putting the cursor within the search field, typing the identify of the merchandise, then ready for the outcomes to present up. However the fantastic thing about custom engines is that they are often extra, a lot extra.
Tip 1: Search your favourite retailers and websites
After all, the simple approach to use search engines is to create ones for the retailers you employ essentially the most — Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, Walmart, B&H, or no matter different retailers which can be accessible in your nation.
You may as well arrange search engines for the websites you typically seek the advice of. YouTube, Wikipedia, IMDB, Trakt, the Google Play Retailer, Reddit, Twitter, Spotify, Giphy, these are a few of my favorites. I really like that they are simply accessible to me, with out having to open the positioning first.
➡️ For instance, that is the URL to a Spotify search engine:
➡️ And that is the URL to carry out a search right here on Android Police:
Looking all of the Amazons.
Tip 2: Add filters and sorting strategies
Most of the time, when performing a search on a website, you’ve got to comply with that by altering the sorting methodology of the outcomes or by including extra filters. Perhaps you are on the lookout for essentially the most seen movies on YouTube, the most affordable merchandise on eBay, or for under free Android apps on the Play Retailer. For those who’re attentive sufficient, you may discover that every time you modify or add a new standards, the URL modifications to replicate this (not less than on most websites).
➡️ For instance, looking on YouTube for the 1000XM4 yields this URL:
However sorting by view depend turns it into this — discover the appended half &sp=…
So if I at all times need to discover the movies with essentially the most views, as an alternative of no matter YouTube’s algorithm desires me to see or thinks I might like, I might arrange my YouTube search engine utilizing that second URL and exchange “1000xm4” with “%s”:
YouTube engine that mechanically kinds by most views.
➡️ One other instance is on the lookout for free apps on the Play Retailer. If I search for “rss” then filter by Android apps, then filter once more by free apps solely, I get this URL — discover the &c=… standards appended on the finish
So my Play Retailer search engine can be the identical, I simply have to exchange “rss” with “%s”:
When you perceive the idea, it’s totally straightforward to remodel any search engine into precisely what you need it to be. You’ll be able to mix as many filters as you need with the sorting methodology that you just choose to save much more time. Who desires to open a website, discover the search bar, sort the phrases, look ahead to the outcomes, apply a filter, then one other, then choose the sorting order they want, and look ahead to the outcomes to reload time and again? As a substitute, you simply sort your key phrase, hit area, and the time period you are on the lookout for. Straightforward peasy.
Since all that the search engine is doing is changing the %s along with your question phrase(s), then you can also make a part of your search static. Say you typically do a Google search for one of the best Android app for a particular function, you are in all probability typing one thing like “best android app for xyz”.
➡️ Let’s take cash monitoring for instance, the URL you get is:
Now as an alternative of changing the complete daring half with %s, you possibly can maintain the “best+android+app+for” and solely exchange “money+tracking”, like so:
Name this search engine “app” and you’ll principally do your search in a snap with out having to sort the complete question time and again.
➡️ One other instance can be utilizing websites’ personal search operators inside your search engine as a static entity. Consider issues like “from:” or “older_than:” and others in Gmail, “artist:” or “album:” and others in Spotify, or “from” or “to” and others in Twitter. For instance, this engine does a Google search for a particular phrase on androidpolice.com solely:
➡️ And this engine appears for emails from a particular sender inside Gmail:
Looking Gmail by sender.
➡️ And this one solely searches for artists on Spotify:
Tip 4: A number of engines for a similar website
Now that you just’re beginning to grasp this, let me level out the apparent: You’ll be able to arrange as many engines for a single website as you need. Say generally you need to discover any picture on Google Pictures, generally you solely need GIFs, and different occasions you want to discover photos with a clear background.
There’s nothing stopping you from including all three search engines, each with a completely different identify and key phrase shortcut.
➡️ This engine does a common Google Pictures search:
➡️ This one filters for GIFs solely:
➡️ And this one solely appears for photos with a clear background:
Three search engines to rapidly discover the precise picture I would like.
Tip 5: Search websites with out remembering their names
You’ve got in all probability came upon some superior websites that you just thought you need to go to and search on once more, however you ended up forgetting their addresses and by no means opening them once more. Perhaps it is a website that unscrambles letters to enable you to along with your subsequent Scrabble spherical, an English website that surfaces the phrases associated to any phrase, or one of many gazillion websites that serve free photos underneath Inventive Commons.
The fantastic thing about custom search engines is that you would be able to assign no matter key phrases you need to these, you do not want to keep in mind the precise URL or identify of the positioning.
➡️ It really works nicely for particular person websites. For instance, this website unscrambles random letters to counsel Scrabble phrases, however I simply gave it the “scrabble” key phrase so I haven’t got to keep in mind its identify or handle:
➡️ And it really works completely nicely for comparable websites that serve the identical function. For instance, I’ve three search engines with the key phrases pr1, pr2, pr3 that search completely different press launch websites. I by no means have to keep in mind their names or addresses. I’ve ordered them from essentially the most helpful to the least, so I at all times begin with the one the place I am almost certainly to discover what I am on the lookout for. If I do not discover it there, I transfer to the second, and so forth.
Discovering that press launch, wherever it might cover.
➡️ I even have 5 search engines with the key phrases cc1, cc2, cc3, cc4, cc5, that discover photos underneath the Inventive Commons license. Once more, these are sorted by essentially the most helpful to least. I am by no means going to keep in mind their names, however I can at all times carry out my search on them. They get the clicks, I save time, win-win.
Tip 6: Shortcut to any website’s sub-pages
For those who’re a fan of a explicit website like Twitter, Instagram, or our personal Android Police, and also you typically go to numerous sections or profiles on that website, you should utilize custom search engines to rapidly enter the primary area, so that you just solely have to manually sort the sub-page.
➡️ This Twitter engine will get you straight to any consumer’s profile, so long as their deal with:
A fast approach to go to any Twitter profile.
➡️ This one does the identical factor for Instagram:
➡️ And this one permits you to entry Android Police’s numerous sub-pages like “reviews”, “downloads”, “deals”, or “news” rapidly:
Tip 7: Examine a website’s completely different nation or language variations
Many websites on the web provide a number of variations for various languages and locales. These are normally indicated within the URL with /en for English, /es for Spanish, /us for the US, /in for India, and so forth. For those who’re a globetrotter or a multi-lingual particular person and also you need to go to these completely different variations, you possibly can arrange a custom engine that allows you to rapidly choose the model you need — so long as what the positioning is utilizing for its nation or language codes.
➡️ For instance, this custom engine can open the official Google Retailer in any nation. You simply have to manually sort “us” for the US, “fr” for France, “uk” for the UK,…, you get the gist.
Discovering any nation’s Google Retailer.
Tip 8: Search engines like google as versatile bookmarks
Tips 6 and seven alluded to this, however the basic thought is that custom search engines may be versatile bookmarks for any website. You do not want to add a bookmark to each sub-page or iteration of a web page if solely a small a part of the URL modifications. As a substitute, create an engine for the static half and exchange the variable with %s.
➡️ For instance, this Reddit engine permits you to go to any subreddit by simply typing its identify. Assign the “r/” shortcut key phrase to it and also you’re golden.
Probably the most versatile reddit bookmark.
➡️ My different favourite instance is one you are in all probability not going to discover helpful, however it’ll illustrate my instance to perfection. I typically want to seek the advice of the articles I’ve written on Android Police in a particular month. The URL for August 2021 appears one thing like this — discover the 202107 on the finish:
I used to change the bookmark each month, however I grew uninterested in it. Then I began bookmarking January and manually altering the 01 to different months. However I did not like that, and I additionally hated that Chrome would not actually provide bookmarks as among the first solutions whenever you sort their identify. You’ve got to scroll down to get to them. Then it occurred to me that I may simply create a search engine and go away the month variable, like so:
Now I simply sort my key phrase shortcut, adopted by a area, then 01 for January, 02 for February, and so forth. It is sooner, extra handy, and would not depend on Chrome’s whims for surfacing bookmarks. I solely have to edit the engine as soon as a 12 months and I am good.
Tip 9: Create a search engine the place there may be none
Some websites haven’t got a search engine per se, however you discover that their URLs comply with a particular sample whenever you seek the advice of numerous pages.
➡️ A standard instance is WhatsApp’s web page for sending messages to a quantity not in your contacts. There is no approach to get to this web page besides sort it within the handle bar, so it isn’t a search engine, however in the event you arrange a custom engine for it, you may get to it sooner. Simply sort the complete quantity (with the nation code) as your question and you will get the redirect web page.
For those who at all times message individuals in a sure nation, you can too add that as a static half. For instance, France makes use of the code +33, so that you’d set it up like so:
➡️ One other one for the Android geeks is the Play Retailer’s beta sign-up pages for apps. There is no straightforward approach to get to them on the net, however all of them comply with the identical sample. For instance, the Google Messages’ official app itemizing is:
Whereas its beta sign-up web page is — discover how the final half after testing/ beneath is identical as what comes after id= within the URL above:
For those who take the URL sample, you possibly can remodel it into a search engine, like so:
Now, everytime you’re searching an app’s itemizing, you possibly can simply copy its id from the URL, set off your custom search engine, and paste it. Increase.
No beta can cover from you.
Tip 10: Entry Chrome flags in a snap
I am embarrassed to admit I solely considered this lately — as a matter of truth it is the dialogue that ensued that made me lastly sit down and write this complete article. The thought is that, as Android Police writers and geeks, we ceaselessly go to chrome://flags and we at all times have to sort that darn URL from scratch… except we made a search engine for that.
➡️ To do that, arrange this URL as your custom engine, and I like to recommend assigning the “//” key phrase shortcut for it to keep away from it interfering with different issues:
Now you simply sort “// flags” in Chrome and get to the flags web page. As a bonus, this works with all of Chrome’s pages, like “settings”, “bookmarks”, and “history”.
Is that this the easiest way to get to Chrome flags or what?
Tip 11: Search your personal Chrome historical past & extra
Talking of historical past, this is one closing chef’s-kiss tip from me. You know the way Chrome is usually cussed sufficient to not floor a web page you visited a few days in the past, regardless of what number of occasions you sort some key phrases from its URL or title? You are then pressured to go digging into your historical past to discover it. Effectively, is there a search engine for that? I am stunned we’re almost 3000 phrases in and also you’re even asking.
➡️ Add this URL as a search engine then sort the question, and you will get the leads to your personal Chrome searching historical past.
➡️ You are able to do the identical factor for Chrome’s settings:
➡️ And in your bookmarks:
Chrome search engines for Chrome, what nice inception is that this!
Your total searching historical past is now a search engine 🤯.
There’s a custom search engine for that.
It doesn’t matter what, how, the place, there nearly at all times is a custom search engine in your frequent internet searches. The query is whether or not you need to spend 10 seconds as soon as setting it up otherwise you choose to waste valuable seconds each time you carry out it, a number of occasions a day, week, month, and so forth… For me, the reply is crystal clear. And the gathering of 120+ engines (and rising) I’ve amassed is a proof of that.
Prior to this text, all of this custom search engine data had been privately shared in bits and items with my Android Police colleagues, trickled down generations of writers who had their thoughts blown by how a lot time they may save by simplifying and rushing all of the searches they’ve to do every day. Now, with the article stay, it feels a bit like I publicly shared my most private secret weapon with the world. Like I opened up my mind and allow you to peer inside. I hope you respect it.