Chrome Managed Search Engines

This probably happens to everyone. You are focused and perhaps have hit your “zone” while working on that complicated email, story, or any other bit of writing. Suddenly you reach a point where you need to check one of your reference files. Perhaps it is a fact or a quote you had stored in Google Keep, or Google Drive. Maybe it is the phone number of a peer that you would like to reference in the email you are currently writing. Regardless, it is more than likely that you will have to stop work and find that information in such a way that not only break your concentration and flow. Here is a trick that I use to help with this problem.

This method will unify all of your digital reference files so they can be searched effortlessly and in the same consistent manner as a “Google” search.

You do this by adding custom search engines in your browser that point to your data archives. These custom searches are triggered when a “keyword” you select is added in front of the typical Google search.

For Example: By just opening a new tab (Ctrl-T) or the search key on my Chromebook I can type “nf” and search for a title or any other term I happen to be wanting to look up on the Netflix Website.

The two requirements to make this work are:

  • The information is stored online, and you have an Internet connection.
  • When a search is conducted in the archive, it will create a unique URL based off of the search.

For example — This is the URL generated when you search for “House of Cards” on Netflix’s Website.

Essentially any web page that places the search term into the unique URL of the resulting web page can be added as a custom Google Search.

Steps to add a Custom Search Engine in the Chrome Browser

  1. Go to one of your favorite search sites. (I will use Netflix as an example using the “House of Cards” search term.)
  2. Conduct a search and see if the URL that is generated once the search completes has the search term in the URL. This is the URL generated from the “House of Cards” Search.

3. Copy the ENTIRE URL into your clipboard.

4. Go to the Settings page of your browser and select “Managed Search Engines.”

5. Scroll to the bottom and add a new custom search. Give it a Name, Keyword and Copy the entire URL into a blank line

6. Finally, replace the “Search Term” in the URL with %s

For example. To search Netflix by typing the keyword “nf” in the Omnibox your search engine should look like this.

A few of the searches I have added to my browser are as follows along with the custom (keyword) I use to initiate the search. Naturally, you can make up your keywords to help remember them.

  • Google Keep (gk)
  • Google Drive (gd)
  • Gmail (gm)
  • Google Contacts (gc)
  • Google Calendar (gCal)
  • Netflix (nf)
  • Amazon Video (av)
  • Google Maps (maps)
  • Audible (audible)
  • Dropbox (db)
  • Pinboard (pb)
  • Pinboard Tags (pbt)
  • Twitter (tweets)
  • Facebook (fb)
  • Workflowy (wf)
  • Wikipedia (wiki)
I can type any of they keywords and then the search term to focus my query to these specific websites. Saves me a whole lot of time!