Google had successfully conditioned us to use search at all occasions. It had also managed to put in the thought that there is Google and there are lesser types of search, not worth attention.
Very untrue and in many occasions specialized and more precise search beats generic. If it only was as fast to use. Opera has extensive functionality to integrate search engines in interface and streamline querying them.
How it works
When you search online technically you fill HTML form and your browser makes GET or POST request to the site’s server. [Best case scenario] server responds with search results.
Opera can take form part out of the picture by taking request settings and incorporating them in interface for fast usage.
Create custom search
Right-click any search form > Create search…
Yes, that easy. All searches are added to bundled ones and are managed in:
Tools > Preferences… (Alt+P) > Search
Basically you are ready to roll, but let’s spend extra minute on custom search anatomy.
- Name is purely decorative, it’s for you to recognize specific search in interface;
- Keyword (more often key letter) is much more interesting, you can search from address bar by typing keyword followed by your query;
- Address is GET request with %s being template for your query. For some sites you can just construct query yourself from scratch;
- Query string is POST request, never had need to touch this one;
- default search engine makes Opera use this one if you had typed few words in address bar that are clearly not URL and hadn’t used keyword;
- Speed Dial search engine is just that – which search engine will appear on top of empty tabs.
Use custom search
- type few words in address bar and hit enter, default search will look for that;
- type keyword (see above), followed by query in address bar and hit enter;
- select text on page and right-click to get Search With option;
- use search bar in interface with default search or choose another before typing query;
You can also add more search bars (defaulting to any engine) in interface customization mode Right-click somewhere in interface > Customize > Appearance > Buttons > Search
Aside from web custom searches there are also two special types:
- history search – will do just that;
- in page search – looks for query in text of currently loaded page.
I find history search little clunky for keyword use. History in sidebar (Ctrl+H) or history page (Ctrl+Shift+H) work better for my taste.
In page search on other hand is very useful. So useful in fact that it also has special hotkeys:
- . (period) will trigger incremental in page search that will highlight all matches as well;
- , (comma) will do same but will limit search to links. You can also quickly go to link found by tapping Enter twice.
Search Opera internals
While searching web is quite awesome, Opera also has strong internal search paradigm. Those search panels show in interface where appropriate and are all incremental plus wicked fast.
With those you can navigate quickly through:
- mail, contacts and RSS;
- widgets (not that there are usually enough to search for).
Think out of the Google box
So now that you are fed up with instructions and burning with desire to actually make some searches, here are some suggestions:
- make search for your favorite blog (if you are reading this I assume this one :) or site – by definition it it will have information you are interested in, in a form you digest well;
- even better, few relevant sites in bulk (will require tinkering with Google search operators or Custom Search). For example Appnews has search through participating blogs and it is usually first search I hit for software;
- for reviews aggregator, for example TestFreaks will get you to excellent summaries for most hardware in seconds;
- for Twitter Search, thing is insanely overhyped but it does help to look up recent issues without drowning in outdated pages;
- for BackType to quickly check if person on other side of comments discussion is genuine idiot or just pulling your leg;
- for NiceTranslator with help of scripted URLs to get easy to use and flexible multi-language dictionary;
- did I mention torrents? :)
Opera takes any search and kicks all boring bits out of process until you are left with pure undiluted results goodness. Make a set of searches you need and you will never go back to searching from pages again.