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Google Chrome is a great browser. One of the more powerful features that I use extensively is the built-in search engines.

If you know how to leverage these, you can use the address bar as a command line of sorts. You can access your engines by right-clicking the address bar and selecting “Edit search engines”, or by visiting chrome://settings/searchEngines (which you will have to copy and paste, as Chrome will not let you access addresses beginning with the chrome:// prefix). They are listed by name, command, and query string. Typing the command in the address followed by a tab or space will engage the engine, and whatever you type after this will be passed as a parameter to the query. To customize your engines, the parameter is represented by “%s”, allowing you to carefully craft your query strings.

There are a few key combinations that work together for this process. Alt+D or Ctrl+L will select the address bar, and Alt+Enter will open the current address in a new tab and switch focus. A few very quick examples:

Search pictures of kittens <Alt+D> i kittens <Alt+Enter>
Go right to the first Google result <Alt+D> l download filezilla <Alt+Enter>
Get directions from one place to another: <Alt+D> map montana to colorado <Alt+Enter>
See how much a new video card costs: <Alt+D> a geforce 680gtx <Alt+Enter>
Look up a function reference: <Alt+D> p str_replace <Alt+Enter>
Check an official source: <Alt+D> w bigfoot <Alt+Enter>
Find out who just called you and hung up: <Alt+D> ph 9075618166 <Alt+Enter>
Watch a video of an epic handshake: <Alt+D> y guile handshake <Alt+Enter>
Perform dynamic calculations: <Alt+D> wa 2 cups milk + 3 eggs + 1 apple <Alt+Enter>
Legally download a movie: <Alt+D> dl iron man <Alt+Enter>

For whatever reason, Chrome automagically adds a search engine whenever it detects one on any website you visit. This, as you may expect, rapidly clutters the engines listing with many entries that you’ll likely never use. Every now and again, one of your engines may stop working, and the culprit is usually a similarly-named engine that got added when you weren’t paying attention. Going through and cleaning up this list periodically is not a bad idea.

Engines List

This is the list I often reference when setting up new machines (less so now that Chrome syncs engines between browser instances). I have found them to be quite helpful in the past, so feel free to use them. You’ll note that some of these, such as icons and px are not queries that take a parameter, and serve as a quick reference to a particular location. Think of them as address macros.

command query
acronym http://www.acronymfinder.com/~/search/af.aspx?pid=osearch&string=exact&acronym=%s
ascii http://patorjk.com/software/taag/#p=display&f=Cyberlarge&t=%s
a http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=%s
css http://dochub.io/#css/%s
dl http://thepiratebay.sx/search/%s
e http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=See-All-Categories&_nkw=%s
g http://www.google.com/search?q=%s
html http://dochub.io/#html/%s
i http://images.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&q=%s
j http://api.jquery.com/%s
l http://www.google.com/search?btnI=&q=%s
map http://maps.google.com/maps?t=m&q=%s
ph https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=%22%s%22+-intitle%3Aphone+-intitle%3Areverse+-intitle%3Aowner+-intitle%3Alookup+-intitle%3Atrack+-0000+-xxxx
px http://pixlr.com/editor/
p http://www.php.net/%s
r http://reddit.com/r/%s
translate http://translate.google.com/?source=osdd#auto
w http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=%s
yelp http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=%s&src=opensearch
y http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s