• 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.

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


  • 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.

# 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

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.

  • 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

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

  • 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.