By Dan Moren
March 23, 2021 8:37 AM PT
Return of the Safari Keyword Search extension
A few years back, Apple implemented a new browser extension framework, with the goal of making the system more secure. However, when the company eventually discontinued its old system, some popular extensions were lost in the transition—including one of my favorites, Safari Keyword Search, which let you do quick searches of user-defined websites from the address bar.
Good news today, then, as my pal and fellow address-bar-search enthusiast John Siracusa pointed out that original developer Arne Martin Aurlien has resurrected Safari Keyword Search via the new extension framework, and brought it to the Mac App Store.1
As with previous versions, Keyword Search allows you to define certain keyword shortcuts to search a particular website. For example, you can define
w to search Wikipedia, and thus type, say
w Tim Cook to be instantly taken to the relevant page. You can also define specific types of queries, so, for example, searching a particular site via Google.2
Safari does provide a similar feature built-in—the so-called Quick Website Search—but it’s somewhat more cumbersome to use since you have to select the result from a drop-down menu, and the per-website shortcuts are not user-definable.
Really, the only downside of Safari Keyword Search’s return is that I’ve trained myself out of using it (though I was never very happy about it), so it may take some time to get my muscle memory back up to speed!
Safari Keyword Search is free to download and its source code is available on GitHub for the interested, even if the developer warns it’s “a lot like a garbage fire at a spaghetti factory.”
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]
If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.