One of Google Chrome’s standout features is its omnibox, the smart address bar which also doubles as a search box. Chrome’s omnibox saves time and screen real estate by allowing you to search any website using a designated search engine keyword. For example, you could set Facebook’s keyword to “fb.” If you felt like facebook stalking someone or you were looking for a group or page on a certain topic, you could simply type fb followed by your search term in the omnibox.

This handy feature makes Chrome a popular choice among browser minimalists, but with the help of third-party tools, you can get similar form and functionality if you prefer to use Mozilla Firefox or Apple’s Safari browser.

To get an omnibox in Firefox, install the Omnibar add-on from the add-ons gallery. After installation, the Omnibar preferences will include an option to hide the Firefox search box. Adding custom search engines in Firefox is simple. Right-click inside any search box on a webpage and choose “Add a keyword for this search.” This keyword search will be added as an entry to your bookmarks– you may want to keep all of these entries together in a bookmarks folder to separate them from the rest of your bookmarks.

For Safari users, there is the SIMBL plugin Safari Omnibar. Safari doesn’t have any way to automatically detect or add search engine URL’s. You can add this functionality with the Keystone plugin. Or to manually add a search engine using the Safari Omnibar, highlight the text in the address bar, right-click and select “Edit Omnibar Search Providers.” Fill in the name of the search engine and your desired keyword for it. To find its URL, first go to the search engine and conduct any search. Copy the URL of the results page, but find the part with your search term and replace that with {searchTerm}. Say you searched for “hackcollege” on Google. Your results URL would be http://www.google.com/search?q=hackcollege, and to add Google as a search provider in Safari Omnibar, you would change that to http://www.google.com/search?q={searchTerm}

What search engine keywords have you set up in your browser? Share your favorites in the comments!