intro- drang and dropA big part of using the internet is searching for information. The faster you can find the information you want, the more you can get done. All of the major browsers let you search from the address bar. Another convenient way of searching is right clicking selected text and searching it on your preferred search engine. But both these methods are limited to a specific search engine.

With the use of Drag & Drop Search, both Google Chrome and Firefox can turn into a quick reference machine. You can search for any selected term on multiple sources ranging from regular search engines like Google and Bing, video sites like YouTube, reference sites like Wikipedia as well as social networking sites like Twitter or Delicious. You get to choose which service do you want to search with.

The basics

Both of the extensions have the same basic function and operation. So we will go over the basics of both at the same time so that you don’t need to re-read the same thing twice.

How Perform a Drag & Drop Search

To use these extensions, find something on a page you would like to search for. If it is text, you can highlight the text like this.

6-chrome highlight text

If it is a non-protected picture, you can also drag it. When you start to drag it, the boxes will appear. You will see the labels you have made in each of the grid sections.

5-drag and drop a picture

Drag the object or highlighted text into the grid square for the search engine you would like to use.

4-drag and drop in action

Extension settings (Chrome)

In the settings tab, you will see a big grid with 16 spots, 2 drop down menus and two buttons. Very simple and very clean.

0--drag and drop main settings

In each grid there is a place for a name and a URL.

1-drag and drop tile

You will have a couple of drop down menus to choose how the search will be displayed in the browser tab. Do you want it to open in a tab directly after the one you are viewing now?

2-drag and drop preference 1

Or do you want it to open at the far end of all the list open tabs?

3-drag and drop preference 2

Setting up the search sites (Chrome extension)

By default, the center four grids are left unused. This is done so you have to intentionally drag the link to the outer edge of the screen and not accidentally search for something when you meant to just highlight it. The 12 default grids all have different search engines named and the search URL typed in for you.

To change any of the default grids, you will need to first name the block something you will remember.

The second thing you will need to do is add the search URL. Here is an example of what you will need:

http://www.google.com.sg/search?&q=

If you take a look at the Google search URL, it is defaulting to Google Singapore. To change this, take out the .sg so it looks like this:

http://www.google.com/search?&q=

Drag & Drop Search In action (Chrome)

Drag & Drop for Chrome is the extension for the Google browser adding the search abilities talked about above. Here are a few screen grabs to show you the extension for Chrome.

Dragging to YouTube

6-drag and drop to youtube

Firefox

The Firefox extension has a little different. The name, is Drag & Drop Zones. Also the settings page gives you a few more options.

7-drag and drop ff settings

As you can see there are only 6 default search engines. You can add more if you’d like.

8-drag and drop ff search options

The grids are also laid out a little differently. If you want them in a certain order, you can rearrange them however you would like.

11-drag and drop ff change locations

There is the option of choosing how many columns and rows you have. There is a possibility to have up to 100 different search options.

12-drag and drop ff settings

Drag & Drop Zone in Action (Firefox)

10-firefox drag text

Conclusion

As you can see by the action shots, they operate the same. The Firefox extension has more flexibility in the settings option. It may be a good idea to reduce the grid size to something more manageable like the 8×8 or even use the auto sizing. Having the search engines at your fingertips is a blessing for anyone doing a lot of research on the web.

Download Drag and Drop Chrome Extension

Download Drag and Drop Firefox Extension

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