Colorful Search Tabs for quick searching

About a month ago, I put together a quick experiment to show colorful search tabs to play around with an idea from the Firefox UX team of associating a color to search engines. In that add-on, tabs appear when selecting or typing text, but the tabs only partially appear with their dominant color in order to not distract the user too much with the full icon.

I’ve combined that colorful tab idea with the quick search idea from AwesomeBar HD. Now instead of showing the tabs when selecting text, Search Tabs detects when you’ve done a search from the search bar or triggered a default search from the location bar.

Pointing at a search tab to search “firefox” on Twitter

So just like in AwesomeBar HD, after doing a search, you can quickly try that same search with a different provider. And similar to how search engines typically let you switch to a particular category like images or videos, you can now switch to another provider with just one click. One main difference is that the search engines listed are the same ones in the search bar (as opposed to the hardcoded ones), so if you’ve added any custom search engines, all of them will be available as a search tab.

No longer are you limited to what the page happens to provide as alternative search options — you can take the full customization power of Firefox to pick where you want to search next.

Try out Search Tabs on Firefox! You don’t even need to restart Firefox to begin playing around. The Prospector team is very interested in hearing back from you, so please install it for a bit, and let us know what you think and submit issues or suggestions!

Add-on preferences in Firefox 7

If you’re already running Firefox 7, you’ll be able to customize behavior from the add-on page, otherwise you can find them in about:config under extensions.prospector.searchTabs.

Ed Lee on behalf of the Prospector team
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