Deep Search: Extending Google search into the web page

My most recent project has been a Firefox extension called "Deep Search". The idea is to extend Google search one level "deeper", into the returned web pages themselves. This is by no means a new idea. Google already does this for cached pages -- if you view a cached page the search terms will be highlighted. Google can't do this for the real web pages, of course, but the Deep Search Firefox extension can.

Deep Search also attaches decorations ("marks") to the scroll bar to show at a glance where in the web page the search terms were found. One of the limitations of the current Deep Search extension is that the marks appear next to the scroll bar rather than directly on it. This is not ideal but it's acceptable for a proof-of-concept. You can click on a particular mark to immediately scroll to that search term match.

I've attached a screenshot below. I've circled the changes made by Deep Search in red. The search term is highlighted and the "mark" is right next to the scrollbar thumb in the lower right corner. The gray line at the top of the mark shows the precise position of the search term relative to the scrollbar. The red area below it is, not coincidentally, roughly the same size as the thumb. It shows where the thumb needs to be positioned so that the search term corresponding to this mark appears at the top of the window.

Crane City

When I was in Indonesia last year, one of the things I remember is how many buildings were under construction in Jakarta, each one with a tower crane. Then I got back to Seattle. I just shot this picture from my building's rooftop deck. There are three other cranes nearer by that I couldn't capture without a wideangle lens. It's pretty fuzzy, so I think I'm doing something wrong.

Who do I talk to about Firefox UI ideas

I have an idea for a Firefox feature that I think would be useful. I'll get into the idea itself in a later post. In the meantime, I've got a Firefox extension that I've written as a proof of concept, and I wasn't clear on what to do next. So I emailed my contact on the Firefox development team for his advice. Since I expect this advice will be useful for others, I'm repeating it here.

  • Upload the extension to the AMO ( sandbox.
  • Blog about it, pointing to the AMO page.
  • Post to DAF ( newsgroup or its mirror mailing list).
  • Go to #ux on, point to your post, and ask for feedback.

First Post(erous)

I need a blog. I've experimented with Blogger in the past and I've been underwhelmed. Wordpress looks like it's just too complicated to run myself, plus I'd need to upgrade my web hosting account to use it. A hosted Wordpress blog at might be an option, but it looks like if you go that route that you don't easily have access to all those Wordpress plugins. I've also investigated PyBlosxom, but I can't get it to install, although I may take another look at it when I'm more motivated. In the meantime, I'm checking out Posterous. Right now it's pretty minimalist, although in a different way than PyBlosxom and the other Blosxom variants. I really like the idea of posting by email, not least because I don't need to use one of those crummy web-based WYSIWYG editors in order to post.