23 September 2010 - 7:00Video Preview of Instant-like Search

Here’s a preview of an instant-like search add-on that I just hacked together in a few minutes. 🙂

Video formats: webm, ogv, mov


Let’s say I want to go to Planet Mozilla, so I start typing out “planet”, and before I even finish typing it out, the page has loaded over the current tab. This could be useful to take a quick peek at a page like xkcd, and then hit <esc> to return to where I left off.

Combining this with smart bookmark keywords, I can type “g” followed by some word, and it’s almost like Google Instant search. But this works for other search engines like Bing.. or even Wikipedia. As long as the site returns the page fast enough, it already feels pretty good.

16 Comments | Tags: Add-on, AwesomeBar, Google, Labs, Mozilla, Search


  1. cabotine says: 23 Sep 2010 - 0:16

    thats cool, where is the download 😉 ?

  2. @cabotine, no download for this particular restartless add-on quite yet. That’s why this is just a preview! 🙂

  3. That’s amazing – it could turn itself on and off by testing latency (ping google?)

  4. Hi,
    you’re using autoplay=”false” on the video tag. I think it’s not working like this. If the attribute autoplay is there, it is true no matter what you try to set it to. So while the intention was good, your video is automatically loading nevertheless.
    Loading videos automatically is ok if the user is likely to watch it. This might be true for someone coming to this page but your posting is also included from planet.mozilla.org’s blog entry list as well. Many people there might not want to load it. Hope it helped.

    best regards, Mic

  5. @Mic, sorry for causing you problems. Where are you seeing this (platform/os)? I added autoplay=false because when I had it before, it would start playing by itself in Opera. Firefox 4 and Chrome support webm, Firefox 3.5/3.6 ogv, and Safari mov.

    I checked on planet.mozilla.org when it first got syndicated and the embed tag was actually stripped out, so perhaps it’s not the embed causing you problems.

  6. @Mic, I’ve removed the embed tag for now and put in a text fallback. Hopefully that fixes things for you.

  7. AaronMT says: 23 Sep 2010 - 8:05

    Get this in the tree!

  8. Just curious, without any supporting evidences for this, I would like to know if there is any security measures to prevent users from loading unwanted websites. Sometimes, websites that have been visited by a user before, may become a malicious website afterwards due to domain name expiration or hacking, would this auto-loading protect the users from that? (in times where anti-phishing has not kicked in yet)

  9. would this auto-loading protect the users from that? (in times where anti-phishing has not kicked in yet)

    Other than the normal blacklisting mechanism built into Firefox, there’s no additional auto-loading protection provided by the add-on. But the use case is somewhat odd as if you didn’t know the site was hacked, and you wanted to go there, you would have loaded the url anyway instead of letting this add-on auto-load it.

  10. Marcus says: 24 Sep 2010 - 4:22

    It’s just like some ubiquity functions but in the awsome bar.
    Don’t you think so ?

  11. @Marcus: Yeah, the functionality is similar to Ubiquity, but it’s implemented very differently. This is actually “more like the web” as Ubiquity needed custom code support for each action, but that also allowed the commands to be more powerful and interactive.

  12. Daniel says: 24 Sep 2010 - 8:09

    I’d love to get this addon. Quick previews are cool 🙂

  13. Manoj Mehta says: 25 Sep 2010 - 16:13

    Hey Ed,

    I want a build a restartless extension, and this seems to be something to model mine on. Would you share the source please.


  14. @Manoj: You can always download the .xpi file and unpack it to view the source. You can also take a look at this post where I provide a bare-bone restartless add-on for quick debugging:


  15. I think sites would not thank you for deploying this. Wikipedia’s load would go from one search per search to one search per _letter_ in the search! It’s like the prefetching stuff – we never turned that on globally.

  16. […] received a number of requests for getting Instant-like Search, so I’ve packaged it up for people to download. Part of the reason why I didn’t release […]

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