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Question

  • What would be a good tool to enable me to press a shortcut key that brings up a simple textbox where I can type some search terms and then press enter to perform a Google search?

Additional points

  • I know that I can press a shortcut key to start a browser and have Google as my default search engine. This is too slow.
  • I have read a little bit about lenses, but they sound like more than what I want.
  • Before switching to Ubuntu, on Windows I have used AutoHotKey to trigger a search box. I also really liked Dave's Quick Search Bar many years ago when I was on XP.
  • Google desktop also sounds like more than what I want.
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3 Answers 3

Since Google Desktop stopped working, I've been forced to look for another solution. Here's what I've done:

Setup

  • I installed Guake, a drop down terminal that can be triggered by F12.
  • I installed surfraw, a command-line search program.
  • I wrote a simple script called g.

The script looks like this; it's not perfect but it seems to get the job done.

#!/bin/bash
# Usage g search-terms
#
# short command designed to perform a google search from the command-line

surfraw -browser=chromium-browser google  $* 2>/dev/null &

Using this approach

To do a quick google search I do the following

  • F12 to bring up terminal
  • g search term to perform search
  • F12 to hide the terminal
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which version of Ubuntu are you using? If you're using 10.10 or earlier (or 11.04 on Ubuntu Classic), then you can install Deskbar into your panel.

Just open a terminal and type sudo apt-get-install deskbar-applet

If you're using 11.04 with Unity, then This link may help.

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Thanks. Alas, I'm using 11.04 with Unity; I had a quick look at the lens option that you link to, but I don't think it is quite what I'm after. I still like to get my search results from Google in my preferred browser. –  Jeromy Anglim May 13 '11 at 5:57
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You can do this using Google Desktop using Quick Search Box feature. The search box appears when you press Ctrl key twice. For more info go to http://desktop.google.com/features.html#search

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Thanks. Google Desktop is an option, but I don't want the desktop search features, and from when I tried it years ago, Google Desktop Search does have implications for computer performance with all the indexing it does. –  Jeromy Anglim May 13 '11 at 5:57
1  
@jeromy-Anglim: you can stop google desktop from indexing you computer. for details see desktop.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=32897 –  binW May 13 '11 at 6:16
    
+1 I might give disabling desktop search a go. thanks. –  Jeromy Anglim May 13 '11 at 6:29
    
it seems to work well, although I changed the default shortcut key. –  Jeromy Anglim May 13 '11 at 6:41
    
UPDATE: It seems that google desktop isn't being developed anymore; and after upgrading to 11.10 google desktop didn't work for me anymore. –  Jeromy Anglim Oct 14 '11 at 10:24
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