Ohhhhh my goodness — this is such a good hack. Simple, powerful and flashy. You will be so popular if you use this. I’m going to teach you how to download Quicksilver into your HEAD! Doesn’t sound healthy does it? Wait and see…

For those unfamiliar with Quicksilver and others who don’t understand my cryptic references yet, here’s what you’re going to be able to do by the time I’m finished here: search for things on the net faster than anyone. And we all know how much time is spent just searching.

You might be asking yourself: what could I do if I had Quicksilver in my head? Well, first of all, you wouldn’t need to download it on to your computer. So, if you think it’s a confusing RAM-eater, you can use your mind instead with this trick. But I also use this all the time because a lot of the computers I use don’t have QS: at the office, at the library, in my pocket (iPhone)…

Basically, all you get to download is the “quick search” kind of function from Quicksilver. You get to skip right to the results page.

Ready to do it? Here we go. Commence download… memorize this:

wikipedia.org/wiki/
ask.com/web?q=
google.com/search?q=
dictionary.com/search?q=
imdb.com/find?q=

Maybe you’re already catching on. Instead of searching for things by using the search bar on a site’s homepage, you put that information right into the URL. So, if I was searching for the definition of “smarmy” I would type “dictionary.com/search?q=smarmy” right into the URL bar and it’d take me right to the results page. No mouse-clicking required.

A few notes:

 

General rules

 

There’s a pattern there, somewhat. The only thing that isn’t so intuitive is the part that comes right before the search terms: “?q=“. But it’s the same for them all, so it’s not that difficult. In general, most websites use “search?q=” after their homepage URL — so you can give that a try if you’re going to make your own.

Also: usually, a space is a “ ” instead. An example: “dictionary.com/search?q=smarmy amry“. If you’re going to apply this to other websites, be aware that “ ” is sometimes substituted for a space as well.

 

Wikipedia

 

For the most part, I’m not “searching” wikipedia. Instead, I want to go right to the page. That’s what “wikipedia.org/wiki/” does. In my opinion, this is the best one to know. But for times when you need to search, you could memorize this “wikipedia.org/wiki/?search=” which is the boiled-down deal for Wikipedia — but I think it creates confusion since the question mark is in a weird place. You might as well load the page that tells you the article doesn’t exist, then just type the query into the box right on the page. At that point, you’ve already wasted a bunch of time.

Note that in Wikipedia article URLs, the spaces are neither “ ” nor “ ” — they’re an underscore.

 

Option 2: The Google Site Search

 

Another thing you can try, which might be faster for some people, is the Google “site” search. Google indexes a lot of pages, so many that their search might be just as comprehensive as a site’s built-in search — but not always. As long as you trust this logic, you can use Google’s search and filter out everything that doesn’t come from the site you’re searching through.

Put in the search terms and follow them with “site:” then, the URL. So, an IMDB search for Christian Bale looks like so, “christian bale site: imdb.com,” and the first hit in the results is precisely what I wanted.

The reason this is at all comparable is because some browsers have a Google search bar built right in. You can tab over from the URL bar to the search and you won’t have to memorize anything but the websites — which you already know.

 

Have a Search Party

 

That’s it! Told you it was good. It takes some getting-used-to because we infrequently use the “=” and ” ” keys. After you’ve tried it a bunch of times it’ll become second-nature and ultimately save you a lot of time. The real time-saver comes from not waiting for a search query page to load first. It’s also especially nice if you’re using a slow mobile network or an otherwise slow connection. You can skip right to the search results.