Ctrl + Ctrl to Quick Search3/15/2006 12:52:00 PM
Google's newest announcement is Quick Search, a Google search box that you can call with a quick double-tap on the Ctrl key during any computing task. No browser loading required--great efficiency hack! Quick Search is bundled with Desktop, which Google says has just left beta. Now before you get yours, here's the good and bad:
Search Google without grabbing the mouse.
Quick Search works well if you're rapidly typing into your blog engine or word processor and need to run a query. Quick Search eliminates the annoying tasks of switching windows or even needing to run the browser initially at all. Now, you might be remembering a project that Google once had in its Labs--Keyboard Shortcuts. Before Google Labs dropped these, you were able to key through your search queries and pages. Imagine if Quick Search could initiate keyboard shortcuts on the resultant Google page so that calling a query and going through results could be handled entirely through the keyboard? Something to watch for.
Search interface is sleek, small, and loads (almost) instantly.
You might also notice that Google has enabled slight transparency on the Quick Search box so you aren't completely sidetracked from your active window.
Search News, Images, Groups, etc using additional Ctrl commands.
Instead of just hitting enter after your query, you can hit another Ctrl command to narrow your search to one of Google's specific search types:
I'm Feeling Lucky Ctrl+K
Google Earth is also available, but only through the drop down menu (use the arrow keys) that lists these search options.
Also search your desktop.
Since it's bundled with the Desktop product, this is just obvious. I haven't activated file indexing, but it looks like Quick Search uses a Google Suggest-like dropdown to show you potential file matches to your query. You can choose these instead of doing a web search by arrowing down to select the appropriate file or by hitting Ctrl+D as shown above.
Same shortcut toggles it on/off.
Ctrl+Ctrl opens the Quick Search box, and the same shortcut hides it if you don't feel like finishing your query. See the next note for some implications of these actions.
Query history clears after 30 seconds.
At first I was concerned that when I typed in "mongoose" then hid the window and instantly popped it up again, "mongoose" was still in the search field. All kinds of problems that could cause you in the office or on shared computers! But after some experimentation, I discovered that when you hide Quick Search rather than hitting enter to load the results, a 30 second timer is started. After 30 seconds, re-opening Quick Search will present a blank field.
If you re-open Quick Search within that 30 second window, the search will be saved and hiding the window again will activate a new 30 second count. So, unfinished searches are saved only in the very short term and you shouldn't run into problems with the next users seeing your uncalled queries.
Only comes bundled with Google Desktop.
Despite being a huge Google fan, I don't have Desktop installed on my computer. That meant I had to get it to try Quick Search. It's my feeling that Quick Search should be a separate, tiny tiny download that just integrates with Google Desktop should you prefer. If you share that qualm, you can download Desktop then disable everything (the sidebar, file indexing, etc.) and just enable Quick Search. The Desktop will run in your system tray (obviously in order for Quick Search to work), but you won't give up screen real estate or let your files be crawled.
The resulting browser window is a bit startling.
I was hesitant to hit enter on my first Quick Search query. Where would I be taken? If I had both Firefox and IE open, which browser would Quick Search choose? From my experiments this morning, it looks like Quick Search just goes with your default search engine preference. That means that in Firefox, it will simply open a new, active tab in the window you're working on. In IE, it will open up a new window. Score another for tabbed browsers that use less load time. No real way to fix the "startle" issue, but just be aware that your browser will "jump" to the top of your window stack in order to show your search results in the top active window.
How Google Gains:
Plus one (two, ten thousand?) for Google in search engine share wars.
Forget having to make you set your browser preferences in numerous places like your IE and Firefox browsers and your various browser toolbars. Once you've installed Desktop and if you've enabled Quick Search, Google has locked you into their search engine. They are building their SE share over Yahoo, MSN, Ask, etc.
They make you download Desktop.
Obvious. But it forces you to try and possibly adopt another Google product.
In the end, increases revenues all the way around.
The easier it is to search, the more you'll do it. And with more search comes more of Google's booming ad revenue.