Query Box as Extensible UI

Yahoo’s Open Shortcuts is a nice simple extension to search implemented entirely within the query box. We’ve been able to do queries like wikipedia emma bull or zip code palo alto or weather baton rouge for a while, using the first word as a context command. Some of those (“wikipedia”) bias the results, while others display custom information above the results.

Open Shortcuts adds the ability to punch through to a different search engine (like !ebay dagor) and also to define your own contexts that go to your favorite spots.

It is easy to define a shortcut for any Ultraseek search engine. Here’s how to define a shortcut for ultraseek.com.

  1. Go to Create a Shortcut.
  2. Scroll down to the Search a Site section.
  3. Enter a shortcut name, like ultra.
  4. Enter this for the URL: http://search.ultraseek.com/query.html?qt=%s
  5. Click Set, then OK
  6. Try a search, like !ultra all terms and enjoy results direct from the Ultraseek site.

You can use this pattern for most Ultraseek-powered sites. Do a search to find the host with the search engine, then use that host with /query.html?qt=%s. Some sites may have customized pages with a different path. Check your browser’s location bar to make sure.

Nice work, Yahoo, and much simpler than A9’s OpenSearch.

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