Using WolframAlpha as a Firefox keyword search

Using WolframAlpha as a Firefox keyword search

Up until recently, if I needed to do a quick unit conversion or sum, I'd have used Google Calculator. It has pretty basic features, but it's very convenient (on most browsers thesedays, Google Search is just up there ↗)

Now I have a new tool: WolframAlpha. You might have heard of it. During its recent release, a lot of journalists portrayed it as a search engine and said it was competing with Google. That's not quite true: it's a computation knowledge engine, and I'd say it competes with Google Calculator, not Google Search proper.

If you haven't already given it a try, definately check it out. Their list of sample inputs is pretty impressive, but here's one to get you started: x ^ 2 sin(x)

A sample WolframAlpha result

However, WolframAlpha isn't quite as handy as Google Calculator: you'd have to visit their site to use it. So, I created a Firefox keyword search from their main input field. The bookmark looked like this:

WolframAlpha Firefox keyword search bookmark properties

But that didn't let me use "+" in my search. That's pretty vital if you're going to use it as a calculator. The solution is to use a spot of Javascript to escape your search first. Change the bookmark URL to:


Ahh. Much better. I can now do searches for things like $17 + 10%.



cool. I think it'll need some lua to get the plus signs working in elinks