Search your Gmail, Contacts and other Google services easily from Chrome

If you are a Chrome user and regularly use awesome Google services like Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Bookmarks, Google Plus, Photos, YouTube, Maps, Play, News, Finance etc., then this tip is for you.

Few days back I wrote an article on how to search Google Drive files easily from Chrome (and Firefox). As pointed out by one of my readers, this technique can be easily extended to almost any search service that queries things via the URL. Another reader pointed out the easy way to add search engines to Chrome which is as below.

    • Go to the site for which you want to add a search engine
    • Locate the search box for that site and right click on it
    • Chrome shows a context menu called Add as search engine…
Google Chrome - Add as search engine
Google Chrome – Add as search engine
    • Select and it will show a pop-up with all the details filled in as below
    • Just click OK and your search engine is ready for use
Google Chrome - Edit Search Engine
Google Chrome – Edit Search Engine

For some reason though, this does not work with Google Drive search box. Google Drive search box does not allow right click and that is why we have to add search engine for Google Drive separately.

Although the above technique should work perfectly for some sites, sadly for Gmail or Google Contacts it does not work. The default URL populated is outdated and does not fetch results anymore. Below, I have listed correct URLs for the most useful Google services. I have added more to this useful collection from Brian Johnson.

Happy Searching!

Search Engine URLs for Google Services
Name Keyword URL
Gmail mail https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/%s
Google Calendar cal https://www.google.com/calendar/render?q=%s
Google Contacts contacts https://www.google.com/contacts/#contacts/search/%s
Google Drive drive https://drive.google.com/?#search/%s
Google Bookmarks links https://www.google.com/bookmarks/find?q=%s
Google Plus plus https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/%s
Google+ Photos photo https://plus.google.com/photos/search/%s
Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%s
Google Maps maps https://maps.google.com/maps?q=%s
Google Play play https://play.google.com/store/search?q=%s
Google News news https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=in&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=%s
Google Finance finance https://www.google.com/finance?q=%s

Reduce tab clutter and memory consumption in Chrome with OneTab

As I read & research a lot on the Internet, I always look to improve upon my research workflow. Sometimes while doing my research around various topics, I end up opening a large number of tabs on Chrome. As we all know, Chrome is a real memory hog and it really slows down your computer as the number of open tabs grow. There are a bunch of TAB manager extensions available for Chrome which could help. But OneTab really stands out for me for a number of reasons. It is really simple to use and does what it says in really un-complicated manner. It is FREE as the developers have created it out of their own need and not to make money.

Save up to 95% memory and reduce tab clutter in Google Chrome.

OneTab
OneTab toolbar button

For me, OneTab solves two problems in one go. It helps me keep my browsing organized and reduce memory consumption very quickly. You can install OneTab from Chrome Web Store. Once installed, it will add a OneTab button to Chrome toolbar. Now whenever you are browsing, if you feel that your machine is slowing down due to too many open tabs, just click the OneTab button. All your tabs will be closed and a clean, elegant looking OneTab page will be loaded with links for all your tabs which were open before. Open Chrome Task manager (press Shift+Esc) and you will see that memory consumption is highly reduced. All the links (tabs) added to OneTab will be persisted even if you close the browser or shut down your machine.

Quick Tip

If you want to access your one tab page all the time and especially once you open the browser, you can simply pin this OneTab page (right click on the OneTab page tab and select Pin tab from the context menu). The OneTab page will now stay with you all the time like your other pinned tabs.
OneTab in action
OneTab in action
OneTab Page

Coming to OneTab page, here it has a number of things to offer. Restore all will restore all the tabs. Well, it does not hold your tabs in memory but simply preserves the URLs. So Restore all will open all those URLs in separate tabs. By default all the restored tabs will be deleted from OneTab page. But you can still keep those by using Options page. As for me, I won’t delete a tab unless I’m completely done with it. So I changed my option to Keep them in your OneTab list. Alternatively you may Lock the tab group which will prevent the tabs from getting deleted as you restore them. As the name suggests, Delete all will simply delete all the links/tabs from OneTab. Click on More… button and you have useful options to Name, Lock and Star the tab group created by OneTab. To stay organized, I always name my tab groups appropriately mostly based on my research topic. You can also name a tab group by clicking on the label that indicates the number of tabs. I also Star the important tab groups so that they always stay on top. One can also Lock the tab group to prevent it from accidental modification. Really well thought out and precise options. None of your tabs or browsing activity is transmitted to cloud unless you use Share as web page option. This actually takes all your tabs and creates a web page for you to share quickly with others. This option is available for individual tabs groups or all the tab groups at once.

Once you start opening a new set of tabs or start a new browsing session and click on OneTab button again, a new tab group will be created for you. You can easily drag and drop links/tabs from one tab group to another and this will be really useful to keep those organized all the time. You may also open a single tab by clicking on individual links. Similarly you may also delete a single tab by using a X button next to each link.

Next we will talk about OneTab context menu, syncing tabs across multiple devices & OneTab options.

Easily copy plain text from web sites using Chrome or Firefox

All of us face this problem every now and then. Say you want to copy some text from a website such as a flight schedule or a quote and paste it into Evernote, email or a Word document. Most often the result is formatted, HTML text when all you want is to copy plain text. This is really annoying. But if you’re using either Chrome or Firefox, there are a few easy to use extensions you can use to solve this problem.

Copy Plain Text for Chrome

If you are using Chrome, you just need to install Copy Plain Text extension for Chrome. Now select any text you want to copy, right click and choose “Copy … Unformatted” menu as shown below. One drawback, reciprocated by many reviewers of this extension, is that it also loses the New Line character when it copies the text. Nevertheless, it is a useful extension to have if you are using Chrome.

Copy Plain Text
Copy Plain Text
Copy Pure Text for Firefox

If you are using Firefox, you have a number of options like Copy Plain Text, Copy Plain Text – Jetpack, Copy As Plain Text and Copy Pure Text. All of these, more or less, offer similar functionality as expected i.e. copy plain text. Copy Pure Text stands out for me as it also preserves the New Line characters.

Copy Pure Text
Copy Pure Text

Easily create link for current page in various formats

If you are a blogger or even otherwise if you frequently need to create (and copy) links in various formats like plain text, HTML, markdown, mediaWiki and use either Chrome or Firefox, then this tip is for you.

Create Link for Chrome

If you’re using Chrome, you need to install Create Link extension for chrome and you’re done! Just right click on the web page or hyperlink for which you need to create a link and select Create Link menu. Click the format of your choice and your link is ready to be pasted.

Create Link for Chrome
Create Link for Chrome

Alternatively, you may use the Create Link button in the Chrome toolbar. The toolbar button offers same options to create the link but also give you access to more configurations. The existing options are completely configurable and you may add more options if you want. For e.g. I changed default HTML option by adding title and target attributes as shown below

Default HTML Code

<a href="%url%">%htmlEscapedText%</a>

Modified HTML Code

<a title="%title%" href="%url%" target="_blank">%htmlEscapedText%</a>

You can also use a variable called %input% if you want to specify a custom value during link creation. A input box will pop up to get your input at the time of link creation.

Make Link for Firefox

Above extension for Chrome is actually inspired from Firefox extension called Make Link. Basic functionality is mostly similar to Create Link for Chrome. It also offers a rather useful but experimental feature to create links with the shortened URL. You can use a variable called %tinyurl% to do the same. But in my tests it did not work for me on Firefox 25.0.1.

Colt is another option worth looking at which offers advance functionality like conditional statements which could be very useful in controlling the link output.

Search Google Drive files easily from Chrome and Firefox

If you are a lot into Google Drive and use either Chrome or Firefox, then this tip is for you.

Search Google Drive files from Chrome

If you’re using Chrome, we have a couple of options here. Install Google Drive Quick Search extension for chrome. Once the installation is complete and extension is ready to use, just type drive in the address bar and hit TAB key. Now you can enter what you want to search for.

If you don’t like extensions, alternatively you can follow these simple steps:

  • Right click on the Chrome address bar.
  • Choose Edit Search Engine… from the menu options. This will open the settings page for Search Engines in Chrome.
  • Alternatively you may directly enter chrome://settings/searchEngines in the address bar and skip above steps.
  • Scroll down to “Other search engines” and add a new search engine.
  • Enter “Google Drive” as the name for your search engine or whatever you would like to call it, “drive” as the keyword you’ll type for activating search (again your choice) and URL as https://drive.google.com/?hl=en&tab=bo#search/%s
  • Now you’re ready to use new search module. Enter your keyword “drive”, hit TAB key and enter your search term.
Google Drive Files Search for Chrome
Google Drive Files Search for Chrome
Search Google Drive files from Firefox

For Firefox too there is an extension called “Google Drive Files Search”. Install Google Drive Files Search using Firefox and click Add to Firefox. This will add a new search engine module to Firefox. Howevere, for quick access from the address bar, you need to do the following:

  • Go to Manage Search Engines… from the search box drop down menu.
  • Select newly added module “Google Drive” and click Edit Keyword….
  • Enter a keyword of your choice say “drive”.
  • Click OK to close both the dialogs.
  • Go to Firefox address bar and enter “drive”, SPACE followed by the search term.