Switching to DuckDuckGo and Firefox 2013-07-12
Returning to Firefox
I began my descent to Chrome two years ago. At first, I only used Chrome while waiting for Firefox to load. Later I found Chrome made pages like Gmail and Grooveshark usable, and eventually stopped loading Firefox altogether.
Coming back to Firefox, things seem to have improved. Load times are comparable. The benchmark I ran still seems to indicate Chrome is roughly 30% faster, but pages feel equally responsive, and cnet reported Firefox to be faster.
Things I missed from Chrome (and fixed)
Chrome allowed tabs to shrink to the size of favicons before scrolling. In Firefox, I was only able to fit around 10 tabs on the screen. Easy fix. Just install Custom Tab Width, and you can edit the minimum tab width from the add-ons pane.
If you have a more horizontal space than vertical Tree Style Tab might be an even better option.
Firefox separates the address and search bars. Coming from Chrome, that sounds insane. Use Omnibar to combine the two.
One problem left: Omnibar doesn't prefill a "?" in the address bar on
If you're an OSX user, Chrome didn't do this either,
but I really liked the confidence that
[ctrl]-k + term would always search.
To bring back the question mark, install
[ctrl]-[shift]-F12 to bring up the Keyconfig pane,
[ctrl]-k to the following code:
gURLBar.value = "? "; gURLBar.focus();Make sure to unbind the default
Things I'm looking forward to
Lookahead search, "/"
I really love my keyboard shortcuts.
In Firefox, typing
/downl[return] will open a link titled "download" on the current page.
Chrome Inspector is nice and all, but Firebug is clearly superior. I no longer recall why I hold this opinion. I'm looking forward to finding out.
Duck Duck Go
This is a bit more extreme, but the results are really quite good, and the interface is fantastic.
Again with the keyboard shortcuts
My favorite thing about DuckDuckGo so far is the vim style j/k navigation,
[ctrl]-[return] to open a link in a new tab in the background.
Or maybe the
Wolfram Alpha integration.
Or the instant Geoip lookup.
But the keyboard shortcuts mean I can search,
queue up promising results, and tab through them,
without reaching for the mouse, and using a very limited set of shortcuts.
Double checking with Google
The interface makes DuckDuckGo an excellent choice for a default search engine, but if I don't see the results I'm looking for, I want to double-check with Google to make sure I didn't miss anything. Adding !g to the end (or beginning) of a search term will send you to an encrypted google search.
Unfortunately, you either have to click the address bar, or hit
before typing your
!g-[return], which altogether is rather cumbersome.
I've uploaded a user script
which binds "g" to focus the search bar, and append the bang!.
With this script, queue up all the promising looking links from your DuckDuckGo query,
gg-[return] to check if google has any better results
(it seldom does, in my experience so far).
Giving to Google what is Google's
Some terms are clearly better handled by Google. Google is currently better with context-sensitive terms like showtimes, or local restraunts. I've heard it does better with long-tail searches, but I haven't found an example yet.
To provide instant google access,
[ctrl]-j to prefix the address bar with a "g",
which is the keyword I've assigned to google in Firefox's
search engine preferences.
If you'd like to do the same,
install Keyconfig as above,
gURLBar.value = "g "; gURLBar.focus();
May you fare better.