Want a Trippy Browsing Experience?

Run Chromium 10 (the dev build) and enable Google Instant in the Omnibox.

That sounds like gibberish, but if you get what it means, you’ll want to try it.

This should work for the Chrome 10 dev build as well, but I haven’t tested it.

So why is it trippy?

Google Instant searches as you type, a marginally useful feature that you may have seen on google.com. Instant, coupled with autocomplete, offers a pretty nice super, fast experience.

The Omnibox in Google Chrome (and Chromium) serves as the search box you’re likely familiar with from Firefox and IE. They just dropped the extra box and combined the search and location functions.

The Omnibox mimics the Firefox awesome bar by also searching your history as you type. Plus, if you hit Tab while typing a URL that has an OpenSearch definition in its header, you can enter a keyword string and search directly against that site. For example, if I type “imd” and wait a split second, Chromium suggests imdb.com and suggests that if I want to search imdb.com, I can type Tab and enter my keywords.

The resulting page served is the search page for my keywords on IMDB.

All these features make it easier for you to get to where you’re going more quickly.

Combining Instant and the Omnibox creates a Reese’s moment.

Now, as I type in the Omnibox, I’m served the Instant search results in the dropdown list, which is nice, but even cooler, if I pause briefly, I’m served the actual page in a live preview of the URL I’ve typed.

It’s nutty.

For example, I tested with a URL I haven’t visited to ensure no caching was involved. I typed cbs and paused. Then, I arrowed down to cbs.com from the Instant list, which served that page for a couple seconds.

I first noticed this inside our firewall, while typing a long URL. As I typed, the page changed, even serving 404s when the exact URL wasn’t found.

You have to admit, that’s freaking cool.

I wonder if there’s any of that Google Wave type-ahead goodness involved here, or maybe it’s just really-really-ridiculously fast.

Anyone else tried this?

Update: Interesting note about OpenSearch engines, I discovered that Chrome/Chromium registers every OpenSearch engine it encounters as a search engine, which is how it enables the Tab to search ahead feature.




  1. It works in Chrome also – at least in the Canary build, witch should be more or less equivalent to the dev channel.
    And I agree, it’s pretty cool! 🙂

  2. The Canary builds are even newer than the dev builds, highly unstable, i.e. canary in the coal mine. I just checked, and it’s in the Chrome dev builds too.

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