Su Tech Ennui: Cool Google-enabled search of all your own bookmarks

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cool Google-enabled search of all your own bookmarks

The iGoogle widget for searching a list of URLs can be used to create a search engine that searches all the sites you've bookmarked in your browser. If like me you have a somewhat fungible memory, and can remember that you've seen something relevant somewhere on the net but can't remember quite exactly where, then this is the hack for you.

Before you start, export your favorites from your browser. In IE this creates a file bookmark.htm - so find somewhere on the net that you can upload this file, you'll need it later as a URL.

Now, create a new search engine at Google's Coop page. It'll ask you for a list of URLs to start it off. Enter one URL, it doesn't really matter which as you'll be deleting it later. The form doesn't let you start with an empty list.

Once the search engine is created, go in to the management page for it and find the Sites tab where you can add new URLs to be searched. Click the "Add sites" button, and enter the URL of your bookmarks page. Here's the important part: select the check box for "Dynamically extract links from this page and add them to my search engine" and the sub-item for "Include all partial sites this page links to". After it's added, remove your original URL.

You also have the choice of searching *only* these sites, or (as I do) making them the premiere results of your search but allowing all the other normal Google search results to follow your preferred ones.

I bookmark stuff pretty liberally and I have found this to be amazingly useful since I first started using it.


Electropostie said...

And there's now a cleaner interface to creating custom search engines using an XML file. Also an ad-free (pay-for) business version

G said...

By the way, once my bookmark collection grew to a certain size, this mechanism broke. I don't know if there was always a limit of only a few thousand URLs or if they lowered the limit after I first started using this, but last time I tried to rebuild my search engine with my current bookmarks, I was only able to have it accept just under half of them.