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Three Cool Search Gizmos

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These three simple little search gadgets each do one thing, but do their tasks very, very well. Sometimes less is more.

Our idea of "search" tends to be an all-encompassing quest for information. But in reality, each time we search we're engaging in a very specific behavior. Sometimes we're looking for comprehensive information. Other times we're looking for a single fact.

Today's three gizmos each help you accomplish a narrowly defined task. They aren't a replacement for any of your other search tools, by any means. Nonetheless, they're so useful you might find yourself using them on a regular basis.

The jux2 Browser Button

In my search resolutions for 2005 I resolved to spend more time comparing search results from different engines, rather than defaulting to a favorite. I mentioned jux2 as a great tool for testing search queries in two or three engines simultaneously.

The jux2browser button is a bookmarklet that installs in either Internet Explorer or Firefox, providing one-click access whenever you want to launch a comparison search on jux2.

If you're running Internet Explorer, the jux2 browser button also runs in "extra cool mode," allowing you to get a quick second opinion on any search results. Click the button when your browser is on any search engine's results page, and the button will automatically run a "What Am I Missing?" search on jux2, showing you unique, unduplicated results from other search engines that your search engine is missing.

The extra cool mode doesn't seem to work with Firefox, but no worries: When viewed with Firefox, the jux2 home page offers a plugin for the Firefox search bar.

The Whois Source Search Plugin

As I've written, Firefox is a searcher's browser. The search bar is built into the browser next to the address bar, and you can add virtually any search engine you like through Firefox plugins.

This includes "non-traditional" search services like Whois Source, one of the best Whois services for discovering domain ownership, server details and other information about web sites. The Whois.sc plugin allows you to run a Whois search on any web site directly from the Firefox search bar.

Most Firefox search plugins are available via the Mycroft project at Mozdev.org. As terrific as this site is, it has a lame approach to site architecture that doesn't allow direct linking to specific plugins.

To find and install the Whois.sc plugin, visit the http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html page using your Firefox browser. Scroll down to the "Computer" category and click this link (which also displays as http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html in your browser window). On the "search results" page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Whois Source" link—a popup window will ask if you want to "add the following search engine to the Search Bar." Click OK and you now have instant access to Whois Source via the drop down menu on the search bar.

While you're there, check out all of the other search plugins available for Firefox. Go ahead and install any that look interesting—if you don't like them, uninstalling Firefox plugins is a snap.

Printer Friendly

Printer Friendly is a simple little bookmarklet that scans a web page for a "printer friendly" link and automatically loads that version of the page in the browser, saving you the effort of scanning the page for the link. OK, so not technically a search gadget, but I use it whenever I want to permanently save a web page in my Furl collection which I do search a lot.

This bookmarklet is just one of dozens available at Jesse Ruderman's bookmarklets site—have a look around while you're there.

Do you have a favorite search gadget or gizmo you'd like to mention? Join the Cool Search Gadgets discussion in the Search Engine Watch forums and tell us about it.

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