8 Chrome Extensions To Supercharge Your Omnibox Searches

Posted by Harshad

8 Chrome Extensions To Supercharge Your Omnibox Searches

8 Chrome Extensions To Supercharge Your Omnibox Searches

Posted: 28 May 2013 08:01 AM PDT

When most people think of Chrome’s Omnibox, they think of it as an “address bar”, where you type in a website URL and sometimes run searches of keywords on Google. Many don’t realize that the Omnibox has so much more to offer than that. There are many things that can be done with the Omnibox, with and without extensions.

Without extensions you can bookmark pages, perform basic calculations and conversions, add various search engines for better search results, and receive alerts (security, pop-ups, extensions).

In this post, we are interested on how to further enhance the Omnibox to help speed up everyday tasks and searches with the help of extensions. Let’s take a look at Chrome extensions that can power more customized and optimized searches for better results.

1. Better Omnibox

Better Omnibox is an extension that improves the relevance of your search results, thanks to a combination of your bookmarks and search history. To use Better Omnibox, type “#”, press tab, and then type your search query. When you select one of the results displayed below the Omnibox, that result will rank higher in future queries.

2. Omnibox Site Search

Are you looking for an easy way to perform a search site for any website that you visit? With Omnibox Site Search, you can do just that by typing the word “site” along with your search query. The extension will then perform a Google search on the website you’re viewing. It’s much like using the Google site operator to search for results from a specific website i.e. site:hongkiat.com "web apps”.

3. OmniDrive

If you use Google Drive often, this extension is sure to come in handy. OmniDrive lets you search through your Google Drive from any Web page, via the Omnibox. Just type “drive” in the Omnibox, press tab, enter your search query, and choose the item (below the Omnibox) that you want to open. You’ll need to allow OmniDrive access to your Google account before you can begin using this.

4. Switch To Tab

If you’re someone who always have a lot of tabs open in Chrome, I’m sure you know what a pain it can be to search for a particular page through all of them. Luckily, the Switch to Tab lets you quickly search through your open tabs and switch between them, via the Omnibox. Type “sw”, press tab, and then enter one keyword or multiple keywords to narrow down your search.

5. Quickmarks

This Quickmarks extension makes it really easy to search through and open your Chrome bookmarks. To do so, type “b”, press tab, and then type a keyword; you’ll see all of your bookmarks that match that keyword. You can press Enter to open the first bookmark or use the arrow keys (or your mouse) to choose any of the other options below the Omnibox.

6. History Search

As the name suggests, History Search lets you search through your Chrome browsing history. This is great if you need to go back to a page that you viewed at an earlier time or a few days prior. Just type “h”, press tab, and then the right keyword(s). Your results will open on Chrome’s history page. In History Search’s options, you can choose to open your results in a new tab instead of the current tab.

7. Quick Search In Chrome Web Store

Does it take you too many clicks to search for something in the Chrome Web Store? Well, Quick Search in Chrome Web Store as the name suggests, makes searching through the Web Store a breeze. Once installed, you can search for any Chrome app, extension, or theme right from the Omnibox. Just type “ws”, press tab, and then enter your search query. Your Chrome Web Store results will appear in the current tab.

8. Search+ For Google Chrome

I don’t know about you, but Google+ is slowly growing on me. I really find its search function useful because I can find interesting articles to read, interesting posts to comment on, and interesting people to follow. Thanks to the Search+ for Google Chrome extension, this makes the search even faster. On the Omnibox, type a plus symbol, press tab, enter your search query, and then click on the result that you want to open.

Bonus: 5 more Handy Extensions

If you think that the Omnibox is only good for searches, check out these five bonus extensions that let you do more.

Send from Omnibox

With Send from Omnibox, creating a new email message is as easy as typing in the Omnibox. In a single line you can put in who you are sending the email to, the subject and even the contents of the email. Once you hit enter, a compose window will open up (using mailto), and you’ll be able to edit or send out the message.

Twitter Omnibox

If you’ve ever wished that you could type @username into the Chrome Omnibox to go to a user’s page on Twitter, try Twitter Omnibox. Just type "@", press tab bar, enter any Twitter username, and then press Enter to go directly to that user’s page on Twitter.

Omnibox Timer

This extension, Omnibox Timer adds a timer to the Chrome Omnibox. You can set timers for any amount of time from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to 2 hours, etc. You can also type a name or short message to go along with the timer. When the timer is up, Chrome will display a desktop notification letting you know. Additionally, you’ll also hear your timer’s message spoken out loud in your computer’s default voice.

IP from Omnibox

If you need a quick way to view and copy your IP address, try this extension called IP From Omnibox. By typing "copyip" in the Omnibox, press tab, then press enter; your IP address will be automatically copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it wherever you’d like.


How would you like to send a tweet right from the address bar? With Chromnitweet, just type "tw", press tab, enter your tweet text, and then press Enter. That’s it, you’ve just sent out a tweet; there’s no need to go to Twitter.com or use an app. One of the cool things about Chromnitweet is that it even has a character counter, so you won’t go over 140 characters. You’ll also see a desktop notification letting you know that your tweet has been posted.

Over to You

Now it’s your turn to chime in and share your favorite Chrome Extensions that help to enhance the Omnibox. Do you use any of the extensions on this list, or do you use a different extension? Let us know in the comments.


5 Tips To Enhance Your WeChat Experience

Posted: 28 May 2013 06:01 AM PDT

WeChat came in at number 10 on our WhatsApp alternatives list. Back then, I was (and still am) slightly biased towards WhatsApp as I communicate through it with my friends and family communicate on a daily basis. However, work had me take a closer look at WeChat recently and I’m happy to report that WeChat is a very complete app with many cool and useful features.


Seriously, you might know WeChat by the basic features the app and many others like it provide but it’s the other extra features you will discover in this list that might interest you to give it a second chance, if you haven’t already. Let’s see how WeChat can enhance your messaging and social experience, shall we?

1. Use Web WeChat

One thing that sets WeChat apart from other messaging apps is the ability to chat with your WeChat contacts on a computer. You don’t even have to download or install a program as you just need to access web.wechat.com on a desktop browser.

Then, scan the QR Code shown on the website with the app. You do this by tapping the Magic Wand icon on the top right corner and selecting Scan QR Code.

Web WeChat

Once the QR Code is scanned, your web browser is temporarily linked to your device. Every message is synced between your device and computer.

wechat web

Chat history displayed on your device won’t be shown on the Web browser but opened chats will be displayed for quick access. You can also start a new conversation with one of your WeChat contacts.

2. Transfer Files With Web WeChat

Web WeChat also allows you to transfer files of less than 10 MB from your computer to your device. Large paragraphs of text can also be sent to yourself with this feature.

File types like PDF, MP3, MOV, MSOffice documents like DOCX and PPT as well as image files can be opened and viewed on WeChat. If a file is not recognized by WeChat, you can select and use another app installed on your device to open it.

File Transfer

3. Share Only Text On WeChat Moments

The Moments feed works similarly to a Facebook feed where you can like and comment on photos shared by your contacts. Don’t want to share photos? Share text like a status update instead by tapping and holding the camera icon on the top right corner till a text box appears. Likes and comments apply.

Moments Text

Since you have to approve of contacts, only the people you approve will be able to see, like and comment on your photos or statuses.

4. Have Fun With WeChat’s Social Features

WeChat has many fun social features that are not found on most messaging apps out there. These social features allow you to look for and chat with random people who are also using the app.

Look Around

Look Around lets you connect with random people who are physically around you. To use Look Around, you must enable Locations so the ‘matchmaking’ can commence. You can see the user’s name, custom status, their avatar or profile picture and their distance from you (it’s a bit off, to be honest).

Strike up a conversation with anyone. Note that when you are in Look Around mode, other users can look for you as well.

WeChat Look Around

To remove yourself from this option, tap the three dots on the top right corner, then select Clear Data and Exit.


Shake is another feature where you can meet random people not too far from you. It gives you a random person (who is also using Shake) to chat with. You can choose to chat with the person or shake again to get another random person.

WeChat Shake

Users can only look you up if you are in this mode, so log out of it if you do not want a ‘Shaker’ to enter your life.

Drift Bottle

This is another cool feature to have fun with. You can now toss digital messages into a ‘sea’ and let random people pick up your message, keep it or add a reply before tossing it back to the ‘sea’. Your messages can be in the form of text or short audio clips.

WeChat Drift Bottle

If you just like the tossing and don’t want to connect with a fellow tosser, go to Settings > Features and disable the feature.

Disable WeChat Features

5. Let Friends Easily Add You On WeChat

You don’t have to give out your personal contact number to people who want to chat with you on WeChat. Here are 2 ways they can connect with you.

Use A Unique WeChat ID

Using a WeChat ID is like a unique username that doesn’t have to be your real name. You can only set it once so think this through. Once you’ve set this up, friends can easily search for you. You can set it up under Settings > My Profile > WeChat ID.

WeChat ID

Share Your QR Name Card

There are also QR codes for you to share on your social networking sites. These QR codes come in a variety of designs. Pick one and insert your name card info, then save it to your device’s photo gallery. Your friends can then add you by scanning this QR code with WeChat. You can find this under Settings > My QR Name Card.

QR Codes


How To Listen To Your Tweets With The Social Radio

Posted: 28 May 2013 03:01 AM PDT

If you’re into social networks, you probably are on two of the biggest platforms, Facebook and Twitter. Trying to catch up on tweets can be a time-consuming task, but if you can’t help but get your daily dose of tweets, why not try getting them in a different way. Rather than read tweets, why not listen to them?

intro image

The Social Radio is a smartphone app that turns your Twitter account into a radio; it reads you your tweets and supports many types of languages e.g. Spanish, English, Korean, German, Italian and French. As an extra touch, you also get some music in the background.

Here’s how to set it up.

Turning Twitter Timeline Into A Radio

First download and install The Social Radio (iOS | Android).

Now, tap on The Social Radio and sign in with your Twitter account.

sign in with twitter

Listen to Your Tweets

To start listening, you can either listen to your Twitter timeline by tapping on ‘Tune in to your Twitter timeline’ or you can listen to "Recommended" tweets.

For this guide, we’ll tap on ‘Tune in to your Twitter timeline’. Next, you will come across two tabs, one is your Twitter Timeline and the other tab is your music.

tune in to your twitter timeline

On your Twitter Timeline you’ll be able to see the amount of tweets that’s available for it to read.

If you tap on Twitter Timeline you can tweet about listening to tweets via The Social Radio.

tweet that you're using the social radio

On the Twitter Timeline page, if you press on the "Repeat" icon, it will read back the 10 latest tweets. In future versions, you can even choose the tweet the app should start reading from.

repeat tweets

Customized Reading

There are other ways to better specify what the tweets the app should be reading back to you. You can choose by Lists, Trending Topic or even by Keywords.

Via Lists

Apart from your Timeline or Recommended tweets, you can listen to your ‘Lists’ tweets as well. Compile a few Twitter users into a group and that becomes your ‘Lists’.

To access it, tap on ‘Lists’ at the bottom of the app.

choosing lists

Tap on any of the list and the app will start reading the tweets.

listening to lists tweets

Via Trending Topics

Tap on ‘Trends’ at the bottom and you get to pick to listen to what is trending now, according to country, or Worldwide.

choose trends and choose worldwide

After choosing which country you want to listen, choose any of the trending topic, to start reading.

choose which trending topics and listen to it

Via Keyword

You can also search for keywords in tweets. Tap on ‘Search’ and enter your keyword. The tweets that contain your keyword will be read to you.

search for keyword

Pick Your Tune

You can also pick the music that will accompany the reading of your tweets to you. On the second tab, you’ll be able to view the music it is currently playing. If you want to set your playlist or music settings, tap on the tab.

You will be redirected to the Music page where you can choose your playlist from your iPod or other sources.

tap on music

By tapping on ‘iPod’ you can select which song you want to play, leave it on Shuffle or remove the background music altogether.

setting ipod music

On the ‘Others’ tab, you have the option to choose to play music from sources such as Pandora and Spotify or other sources. The volume of the tunes will be adjusted automatically so it doesn’t drown out the tweets.

choose others source of music

Wrap Up

On the ‘Settings’ tab, you can set the duration for how often the app should fetch for new tweets. There is also the option to set how fast you want the app to read the tweets to you. Give the Social Radio a go and let us know what you like (or don’t like) about it in the comments area.


Disconnect – Plugin To A Faster, Safer Browsing Experience

Posted: 27 May 2013 10:01 PM PDT

At times, the Internet is just plain annoying. Let me count the ways: slow loading speeds, cluttered Web design full of advertisements, plugins which track your data without your knowledge, social widgets that nag you with notifications and worst of all, malware!

Let’s better manage these nuisances in our online life with Disconnect.

Disconnect is an open-source extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox which can be used not only to speed up your Web browsing but also make it safe, secure and private. It looks nice, has great features and doesn’t really have a price tag: feel free to pay for what you think it is worth.


Upon installing Disconnect, a new toolbar button will appear on your Chrome browser. The button will display a small green box which shows you the total number of tracking requests on every single page you go to, something like this:


Websites do more than what you just see it as doing, they track you, your browsing history, your physical location, etc. You can view what each website is doing by clicking on the Disconnect button and viewing a list of all the current activities coming from the website either to or from other websites.

Green means the requests are blocked. Gray means they’re unblocked. You may click any icon or checkbox to block or unblock requests.

Disconnect also features an alternative viewing experience from the default ‘list’ view that is, the visualization view or page.

The visualization view gives you simple explanation of how that particular website is linked to other websites or services in the form of a visual graph of the websites.

Other small features of Disconnect includes the ‘Secure Wi-Fi checkbox’, which lets you prevent wireless eavesdropping by forcing sites to encrypt your data whenever possible; and also the dashboard which shows you Disconnect’s effect on the page you’re on - the time and bandwidth you saved and the number of Wi-Fi requests you secured.

Should You Try It?

You need to be careful about tools that say they can speed up your browsing and protect your privacy. Disconnect has many advantages and better features over the competition, some of which are not actually that safe.


Here’s a list of its advantages:

  • Detailed and organized list view for easy reading.
  • Visualization page: A simple graph that shows you which websites are taking and sending information.
  • Statistics of the time you saved, bandwidth saved and requests that it secured.
  • The ability to whitelist/blacklist websites and web apps.
  • The counter box overlay showing you the total number of tracking requests on every single page you go to.
  • Common tracking sites – Facebook, Google, and Twitter – are shown separately to make them easy to block or unblock. Click any icon to block or unblock a site.


Granted it has its flaws, one of which is there isn’t a way to view the settings or statistics on a full page instead of only in dropdown. The makers claim that Disconnect will speed up your connection by 27% which, but most of the time it is a little below 27%, but it isn’t that big of a deal.


Overall, Disconnect is a great way to protect your online accounts, your computer, your privacy and also prevents against certain malware. So is Disconnect everything they say it is? Simply put, yes it is.



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