Jul 1, 2017

Speed Demon 2

Browser Enhancement Tricks

speed demon header

Today’s Topic: Browser Enhancement for Speed

Difficulty: Easy


In this blog post, I’d like to discuss some simple tricks you can apply to your web browser to speed up common tasks above and beyond the stock browser offerings. The following “hacks” will let you skip a lot of the clicks involved with doing everyday tasks and cut right to the chase. These are tweaks that I have done personally with my own web browsers (Chrome and Opera) but should also work with Firefox if you’re using that particular web browser. If you’re using Microsoft Edge, then there is a special place in hell just for you.

The main question we’re answering here is:

In the course of our everyday web browsing, we find ourselves doing a lot of repetitive tasks to get to what we want. For instance, searching your favorite sites for content, using the Speed Dial, and so forth. So let’s speed this up a little bit and make our lives easier.

Search Operators

There is nothing scary here, and this trick is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Essentially, all browsers allow you to add custom search operators aside from the built-in options like Google, DuckDuckGo, etc. But how can we “hack” this feature to our advantage?

Well, let’s say you routinely search Youtube for videos.

Normally, you have to type in youtube.com, wait for it to load, and then click in the search box to do your search. If you’re a speed demon like me, then you want to skip all those steps in between for your favorite sites and just cut right to the chase.

The first step to this is right-clicking the address bar.

Edit Search

On that resulting menu, you’ll see something like the picture above. “Edit search engines…”

Edit Search B

Very likely you’ll see a list under the main list that says “Other search engines”

By clicking on the “Add new search” you’ll be presented with another pop-up to define your new search keyword.

Edit Search C

For instance, let’s look at adding a custom Youtube keyword.

Obviously we name it in the first box – in this case “Youtube”. In the second field, we choose the keyword to use in the address bar as the shortcut. For this example, I’ve chosen “youtube”. The last is the address to use for this search keyword.

This is where it gets a bit tricky. In order to get the search string for this, simply do a normal search on the site you want to set up a keyword for. In the results address at the top, copy and paste it here in this field when setting up the keyword with one change:

Whatever the string was for the thing you searched for (Let’s say you searched for Rick and Morty"), you replace that with %S as a wildcard.

Then hit Save on this dialog and you’re done. Whenever you type Youtube into the address bar, you can follow it with the search criteria directly and hit enter to skip right to the youtube search results for what you just typed.

In your address bar, you can type Youtube [space] [Search String] and it’ll skip right to the search results.

What else is this useful for? Well, let’s say you want to keyword something like Wikiwand to search for articles. The same process applies, but the address is something like:


And you can set the keyword to be “wiki”.

Pretty much, you can do this on most sites that have a search option. I’ve set it up for Youtube, Wikiwand, Torrent, Freesound.org, Porn (why not?), Discogs (album info search), and yes even Google Play Music, where typing “play” and the search criteria in the address bar will jump right to the search results in my Google Music Library.

Author’s Note: Wikiwand is a much cleaner and modernized version of Wikipedia. I highly recommend using it over the standard Wikipedia site.

This is such a useful trick that I feel gimped whenever I set up a new browser install and can’t use these custom search operators. Trust me, once you set yours up, you’ll feel the same after a short time and wonder how you managed without this for so long.

Suggested Keywords

  • Wallpaper
    • https://alpha.wallhaven.cc/search?q=%S&search_image=
  • Games
    • http://armorgames.com/search/games?type=games&q=%S
  • Music
    • https://www.emp3i.co/mp3/%S.html
  • Icons
    • https://www.iconfinder.com/search/?q=%S&price=free
  • Marketplace
    • https://marketplace.secondlife.com/products/search?utf8=✓&search%5Bcategory_id%5D=&search%5Bmaturity_level%5D=GMA&search%5Bkeywords%5D=%S

Obviously use these responsibly and legally.

Additional Uses

It goes without saying that this trick can be used for single word tweaks for your favorite sites. For instance, if you use Google Drive a lot, but don’t want to type in drive.google.com all the time, just set up a keyword named “drive” with the address normally, and from there simply typing “drive” in your address bar will take you there.

Log In and Synchronize

This one is optional, but can save you a ton of time when setting up a new browser install. In your browser settings there is the option to log in and synchronize all of your settings. I highly recommend setting this up. In Google Chrome and Opera (Chromium based browsers), it’ll backup all of your bookmarks, extensions, themes, keywords, etc. When you set up a new browser install, and log in, the browser will “magically” set itself up the way you had it before – installing all of your themes, extensions, bookmarks, keywords and other settings automatically.

No manual import needed here – just sit back and watch it all work automatically.

This is such an awesome time saver that we at Andromeda Media Group are incorporating it into the ONYX land radio system by default. Because who the hell has time to keep messing with notecards and settings every time you rez a radio in Second Life?


This is where the suggestions begin to get subjective, but I’ve found the following extensions incredibly useful for management, themes, and ease of use in Chrome, Opera and Firefox.

For the remainder of this post, we’ll be using our respective extension stores for the corresponding web browser -

1498977252_Google_Chrome https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions

opera icon https://addons.opera.com/en/extensions/

firefox https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/

FVD Speed Dial

The first out of the gate is FVD Speed Dial. While the built-in speed dials for Chrome and Opera are pretty good, FVD Speed Dial takes it to a whole new level with customization, organizing your speed dial bookmarks via tabs, and more.

Once you set up FVD Speed Dial, and get your dials organized, it’ll be a quick and easy task to open your most used sites.



I don’t know about you, but I hate remembering and typing in passwords and repetitive information to fill out forms. With LastPass as an extension, it’s a one and done deal with a master password or auto-fill option.



When it comes to websites and how they look/feel/operate, sometimes the designers just don’t get it. Or maybe you just don’t like how things are laid out to your liking? With Tampermonkey as an extension, you can use scripts which will alter how those sites look, feel or operate (and sometimes adding new functionality altogether).

Installing Tampermonkey isn’t complicated, and it’s mostly a hands-off operation. What makes it powerful though is not just that it is the backbone of scripts to alter sites but when paired with script repositories, such as Greasy Fork, you can customize your favorite sites till the cows come home.

A side note – Tampermonkey is mainly for the OCD power user that wants new features or more control over things, and the mileage will vary for each script in use.

When the scripts work, however… it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your favorite sites and customization.



What is Stylish you might ask? Well, it’s an extension that works a lot like Tampermonkey but mostly for the purpose of applying themes to your favorite sites. Want Google with a dark theme? Facebook with greyscale? There’s thousands of custom themes for popular sites. With Stylish, it’s also pretty simple to find, apply and change them.

Download Chrome Extension for Opera

For this next one, if you’re using Opera, then installing this extension will let you install and use (most) Chrome extensions in Opera by default. With this, you’ll be able to go through the Chrome Store as well as the Opera Store to get your extensions.

Mileage may vary, as some extensions use API specific things not supported cross browser. In which case, you can usually find the browser specific version in the corresponding store.

URL: https://addons.opera.com/en/extensions/details/download-chrome-extension-9/ 

If you’re using Firefox and don’ see the corresponding extension in your web store, just pick the extension that is a close approximation.

Mercury Reader

Mercury Reader

The Mercury Reader extension for Chrome removes ads and distractions, leaving only text and images for a clean and consistent reading view on every site.


  • Disable surrounding webpage noise and clutter with one click
  • Send To Kindle functionality
  • Adjust typeface and text size, and toggle between light or dark themes
  • Quick keyboard shortcut (Cmd + Esc for Mac users, Alt + ` for Windows users) to switch to Reader on any article page
  • Printing optimization
  • Sharing through Facebook, Twitter and Email

Pure URL

Pure URL

This add-on automatically removes all garbage like "utm_source=*" from URLs. These fields are provided for the Google Analytics and they are not a necessity.

Example of URL with garbage fields:


Pure URL:

Wrap Up

And there you have it – some simple extensions and tweaks to make using your internet browser much faster for common tasks. These are all tested and used by myself, and most I couldn’t really do without.

Have any tweaks or extensions of your own you’d like to add? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Post a Comment