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iPhone: Improving search in Safari

The trend for the iPhone has been "there's an app for that," hence the proliferation of narrowly-focused content apps. While that may be the best way to find what you're looking for on prominent content sites, such as the IMDB (yes, there's an app for that), often as not, users will eventually find themselves on a standard web page. Mobile Safari is a fine browser but it can be tough finding a small thing on a big page with a small screen.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor

The trend for the iPhone has been "there's an app for that," hence the proliferation of narrowly-focused content apps. While that may be the best way to find what you're looking for on prominent content sites, such as the IMDB (yes, there's an app for that), often as not, users will eventually find themselves on a standard web page. Mobile Safari is a fine browser but it can be tough finding a small thing on a big page with a small screen.

However, developer Vais Salikhov offers a solution with his $0.99 plugin for the Safari browser on the iPhone. Yes, even the Mobile Safari browser can be extended, go figure. It's a bookmarklet, meaning that the user opens the plugin through a bookmark, which then presents a copy-paste field for the search text.

Instead of having to read each page for the search term, going up and down and sideways, you can let the browser do the work for you. It's very slick. Some may find the installation a bit convoluted, especially folks not used to dealing with the iPhone's bookmark UI. Still, it just takes a moment and there's even a Youtube video to hold your hand.

Take a look at the review that evallow wrote on iTunes:

Once I heard of this "hack" (not really an app, but a monetized way to deliver clipboard content), I knew I could write a basic version of it myself for free, or find the script pasted into the web somewhere. But, I decided to buy it instead to reward the innovation of the developer.

The implementation is nicer than I could have managed, and the developer obviously put much time into making it as feature rich as possible in the limited sandbox provided. It has already saved me much time over my previous Safari search workaround (copy/pasting a page to an editor). Makes me wish that Apple would hold off fixing this particular hole in mobile Safari long enough for this developer to reap a decent reward.

Well done, and well worth the dollar $.99 for the paid version.

I totally agree. This little hack is a real productivity booster.

On the Mobile Safari productivity beat, I again suggest iPhone users check out Ten One Design’s Pogo Stylus. I posted about it a year ago. It's really great for hitting those small links.

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