Google Quick Search Box: A Great Alternative to Quicksilver

There are only few applications so good and useful that people mistakenly thought it’s a native part of the OS. For Mac OS X, Quicksilver is one of the few. With the correct plugins, this application launcher can be expanded into almost anything that users need; from text editor to clipboard manager.

But despite the popularity, the developer has decided to let it go and move to another project: Google Quick Search Box (QSB); which promises to do even better than its older siblings.

I personally think that keeping the promise would not be easy because it’s very difficult to surpass the greatness of Quicksilver, even for the creator himself. Many have tried without any significant result. But if Google is at your back, almost anything is possible.

Taking a peek

At first glance, QSB is just a plain search box with the colorful word Google in it.

qsb-interface

I can’t help but feeling that this one is the other side of the same coin as Quicksilver – similar but on the opposite side. If Quicksilver is an application launcher with an additional file searching capabilities, then QSB is a search tool with the additional ability of a file launcher.

Even the usage is more or less the same: you hit the shortcut key combination, and it will pop-out waiting for the users’ input; hit the Esc key and it will disappear. The default shortcut key for QSB is hitting the Command key twice. A genius solution to the overused Command + Space or Control + Space combination used by other launchers.

When you type something in the box, QSB will try to help you complete the word or phrase by giving you the nearest guess. This autocomplete feature is similar to the one in Quicksilver. QSB will also give you the possible action that you can do after typing the keyword.  You can navigate through the menu using Tab, Arrow keys and Enter or using mouse clicks. The differences between the two is only cosmetics, and I like QSB interface better.

qsb-autocomplete

qsb-quicksilver-comparison

I noticed at least two other differences between QSB and Quicksilver. They are:

  • When you type something in the QSB box and you pause, the word/phrase will stay there unless you hit the backspace button – like in Spotlight. But in Quicksilver, pausing the typing means retyping it again. Sometimes Quicksilver’s input method can be annoying, but you don’t have to hit backspace all the time you want to change the string.
  • QSB has the additional Google search option for the inputs. Hitting the Enter key will open Google search page with the input as the search string. Quicksilver don’t have this luxury.

Other goodies

There’s a small arrow button at the right side of the interface. If you click on it you could find other goodies offered by QSB. For example: quick access to GMail, Wikipedia and YouTube.

QSB Goodies

Each one of these goodies has its own shortcut key combination, so users can navigate QSB features only by using keyboard. If I want to open my GMail inbox, I just open QSB (hit the Command Key twice) followed by Command +1 (GMail) and then Enter. The GMail page will be opened in your default browser.

qsb-open-gmail

QSB Preferences also can be accessed from this little arrow button (or using Command + Comma key combination). There are few settings that can be adjusted here, such as: Basics,

qsb-basics

Searchable Items,

qsb-searchable-Items

and Under The Hood.

qsb-under-the-hood

But the important things to do to optimize the usage of QSB is adding Account(s). There are two types of account that you can add: Google and Twitter. You know what that means, right? Aside from Google Services, QSB users can also update their status to Tweeter.

qsb-add-accounts

Just write whatever you want to tweet in QSB, hit Tab and choose Tweeter, then hit Enter.

qsb-tweeting

Given what QSB has already capable of today and all the future possibilites, I think I’m going to go with QSB instead of Quicksilver. Granted, Quicksilver and all of the plugins are far more powerful than QSB today, but I don’t think I’d need all those bells and whistles.

What about you? Have you tried QSB? Share your thoughts using the comment below.