Today I’m going to discuss a search extension for Google Chrome. This isn’t your ordinary search tool, which is why it caught my eye. There are so many add-ons available that simply put a new icon in your toolbar, which when clicked, pops up a window for you to enter your search term in. You’re taken to the search results (on whatever website the extension is for), but it doesn’t really save you all that much time. Ozone, however, is a different beast entirely.
Once installed, Ozone does add a new icon to your Google Chrome toolbar. To access it, simply click the icon, which looks like a little globe. First impressions are important, and I have to admit, when I saw what happened next, I wasn’t all that impressed. Why? Because instead of something happening with the extension, I was instead taken to the following address: chrome-ozone.appspot.com.
My first thought was, “Really? This extension just takes me to a website?”
And yes, that’s all it does.
However, in this case I’m willing to cut Ozone some slack. Sure, I could accomplish exactly the same thing by just adding a bookmark to the site, but since I don’t keep my toolbar bookmarks visible, in this case using the extension is quicker.
But it’s just a search website, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that it is NOT just another search website. It’s actually 15 different search engines in one, with each site represented by a little icon below the search bar. For those who don’t recognize all 15 sites (I didn’t), Ozone is able to search the following:
Google, Amazon, Netflix, Wikipedia, YouTube, Chrome Bookmarks, Chrome History, Gmail, Facebook, Apple, Quora, Fanvibe, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Delicious.
That’s a lot. When I realized what was happening, I started wondering exactly how that was going to work. I’ve used the Dogpile search engine, which combines Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines (or maybe that’s it at the moment, it’s been a while since I’ve used it), figures out which results average the highest, and places them first.
Ozone works differently. If you’ve used Google’s new search-as-you-type feature, you’ll be familiar with Ozone. The second you start typing, up pop 15 different search-as-you-type boxes, showing immediate search results from each one! It’s a bit overwhelming to look at, but after using it for a bit, my eye started to pick out which sites I use most often. But that does bring up a couple things.
First, I really wish there was a way to tweak Ozone so that I could only use the sites I care about. I use Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter, and the ability to search my own bookmarks and history is nice, but I don’t have any use to search Netflix (currently not a subscriber), Quora, Fanvibe, LinkedIn or Delicious. So the ability to turn off those sites would be great.
Second, if I can’t turn them off, I’d love to be able to rearrange which sites show up where on the results page. My own bookmarks and history would be great at the top, and then I’d like to be able to “rank” my favorites, so that the ones I’d use most often (or are the most similar, such as Google and Yahoo), would be grouped.
Other than that, Ozone is pretty nice. It’s not much as an extension (it really only extends the browser by putting what amounts to a bookmark in the toolbar), but as a service, it’s pretty nice. A little more customization options and flexibility would be nice, but it’s hard to argue with searching 15 different places at once… talk about multitasking!