In Google Chrome, you can use the omnibar (the address or location bar) as your search box as well, instead of having a separate search bar or having to go to a website to perform a search. You have the option to assign one search engine as the default. You can also configure different search engines with a keyword or shortcut as well, which allow you to specify which engine to use when performing searches.
By default, the search engine is set to Google. You can change this to any search engine of your choice. As mentioned, you can also provide different keywords for your search so that you can use the same location bar to search different websites.
Adding Search Engines
Let’s say we want to add a new custom search for Wikipedia. First you need to open the Search Engine Settings dialog box. You can open it in one of two ways.
- Click on the Hamburger button or the Chrome menu at the top right
- Click on Settings (alternatively, you can go to this page by entering chrome://settings)
- Go to Search section on the page
- Click on the Manage Search Engine button
An alternative and the easiest way is to right click on the location or address box and click on the Edit Search Engines menu option. This will open the same dialog.
Now, you should see several search engines that are already pre-populated in this dialog. This is because Google will collect various search engines and auto populate the values as you browse and use the search functionality in various websites.
So the first thing to do is to check if the search engine you want to add already exist in the list. If it does, then you can use or edit the existing entry. Assuming that the entry does not exist, we will add a new one.
Scroll all the way to the bottom to find the text entry box to add a new search engine. You will need to enter three values:
Name: This is the name of the search engine. You can name it anything you want, but naming it correctly will allow you to identify it later. We will enter Wikipedia for our example.
Keyword: This is the shortcut that you can use later from the search bar to select a particular search engine. In this example, we will use wp as the shortcut.
URL: This is the URL that will be used when you perform a search. The easiest way to figure out this url is to go the website/search engine and perform an actual search. Now copy the URL from the location bar and replace your search term with “%s” in it. Enter that URL in this box.
Delete a Search Engine
If you want to delete an existing search engine, you can do that from this search engine dialog as well.
- Hover over the entry that you want to delete.
- You will see two buttons appear to the right on the row.
- Click on the ‘x’ button to remove the entry.
Using Shortcuts in OmniBar
Now that you have created the search engine, you should be able to use from the omnibar to perform a search.
- Click on the address bar
- Enter your shortcut (wp in our example for Wikipedia) and hit Tab key or the space key
- You should see the address bar change to acknowledge the search engine
- Enter your search words and hit Enter
The browser should now perform a search and display the results. If you perform a lot of searches on various websites or search engines, then this is a quick and easy way to do it. All you need to do is remember the keyword or shortcut that assigned for the search engine.