How-To Geek

Gain Access to a Search Box in Google Chrome

Do you miss having a search box in Chrome and would like to get one back? Then join us as we take a look at the Search Box extension.

Search Box Extension

Once installation is complete you will see your new “Magnifying Glass Toolbar Button” and a message concerning managing your extensions.


There are three ways to access the options. The first is by right clicking on the “Toolbar Button”.


The second is through the “Chrome Extensions Page”.


The third (and easiest) is in the drop-down window. Here you can see the default setup/look for Search Box.


When you go into the options you will be presented with a default list of search engines. Two of the searches engines start out as disabled but can be enabled with just the click of a mouse. Notice that you can edit the existing search engines and add new ones…you can really personalize Search Box to best suit your needs.


Here is what our search engines list and drop-down window looked like when we finished customizing our engine set.


Search Box in Action

We started off our testing with a search for “Windows 7” using Bing Singapore.

Note: Each time we reopened the drop-down search window Google displayed as the default search engine but we were able to select and use any engine that we desired.


As soon as we clicked on the “Search Button” a new tab was automatically opened with a list of search results as shown here.


For our next test we decided to search for “Windows 7” using the YouTube Search Engine.


Once again we had a new tab open up with a nice set of results for our search term. Very nice…


Our search on YouTube did result in one odd behavior…while we had the YouTube “search page” (and linked YouTube pages opened from it) focused the drop-down window displayed the search URL as shown here. The drop-down search box displayed as normal for any non YouTube pages we focused to the front.



While the Search Box extension may have a small “quirk or two” at the moment we were still well pleased with how it operated. If you have missed the search boxes available in other browsers this is definitely an extension worth trying out.


Download the Search Box extension (Google Chrome Extensions)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/15/10

Comments (14)

  1. Steve Crane

    I fail to see the need for this when the address bar functions as a dual URL entry and search term entry field already.

  2. André-Yves

    This extension is useless. the keyword search are way faster…

  3. Eric

    I concur…if you like occasionally don’t want to use google or whatever your search is and assuming you’ve visited the site before, such as, just go up to the address bar, begin typing ‘’ and when it comes up with auto complete, hit tab and type what you want to search for…works just as well and is less clicks

  4. Asian Angel

    @Steve Crane & Eric – Just offering an alternative option for those who prefer using a search box versus the address bar. ^__^

  5. Alec S.

    But the address bar IS a search bar; that’s why it’s called the OmniBar. I can already search using Bing by typing “b foobar” in the OmniBar, or Wikipedia by typing “wiki foobar” in the OmniBar, and so on; that’s what the search engines feature (in the Options dialog) is for
    in fact Chromium automatically adds new searches.

    Custom search engines the way that Chromium has it set up is faster than using a button since you have to type to do a search anyway, therefore it is faster to just add a “b ”, “w ”, “imdb ”, etc. to the start of the query than to leave the keyboard and move the mouse to the button and select the right search engine.

    I’m surprised there aren’t any comments questioning the need for this on the extension’s page. I guess some people need to read the Chrome Comic. ;)

  6. The Geek

    You guys forget that some people prefer using the mouse, and would like to specifically choose a search engine the same way you can in Firefox or Chrome.

    It’s actually one of the most common questions I get about Chrome – “How do I search using another search engine?” For people who aren’t as tech-savvy, or just like the old way of doing things, this extension gives them an alternative.

  7. Roy Callaway

    I haven’t tried it yet but I do appreciate your emails

  8. JJ

    The omnibox is good, but I have to open a new tab everytime to search google as I don’t want to use the same tab for search. I know (alt+tab) is an option to open new tab after entering search terms, however it’ll be great if there is an option to make google chrome automatically open it in a new tab every time a search happens. If there isn’t an option like that, then the search box extension could be useful to quickly put in search terms and it’ll open in new tab.

  9. Freeman

    Wow, thanks geek! this is what i’ve been looking for. .

  10. Chad

    This is the reason why I haven’t switched to Chrome. I use multiple search engines each day. It’s easier to use Firefox’s search box than the OmniBar. The Search Box extension is useful, but there’s still one extra step (clicking on the icon) to use it.

  11. marfaw

    So using the Omnibar, how do I type in a search term and have it open in a new tab if I don’t want to re-use my current page tab? Shift-Enter does not work (which is convenient).

  12. Daya

    Omnibar has several deficiencies:
    1. How do I search for ? (Omnibar goes to the URL)
    2. On Firefox I usually type the keyword on search box and then create a new tab for the search page. Can’t do with omnibar.
    3. On Firefox I have 14 search engines (including engines like ebay, Wolfram, Amazon). I use all of them. They may have prefixes; but why do I have to remember them?

    – Daya

  13. Nonna2Three

    This needs a “paste” function.

  14. danielb

    My chief annoyance with the omni bar and chrome’s find bar–no search terms appear (ala Google Toolbar). With that feature, with one click you can jump to a given term on the page. To me that is the single most useful (and underrated) thing in Google toolbar and yet there’s no way to achieve it in Google’s chrome (Yeah, I know their separate ctrl-F find bar highlights the terms on the page–but that’s not the same at all. And…it doesn’t even do THAT if the terms aren’t contiguous (ie, EXACTLY in the order entered in the find bar–so it’s basically only good for one term at a time. And, that bar for searching ON the page is a separate operation from the actual search FOR the page).

    Google toolbar lets you search FOR a page using a bunch of terms, then, when you’re ON a matching page, it keeps each word of the search in the menu bar, letting you quickly zip right to various items you’re looking for. A godsend for long pages wherein you need to find specific, independent terms. Sadly, the lack of this single thing is keeping me a Mozilla user when Chrome surpasses it in pretty much every other way.

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