Highlight To Search For Google Chrome, A Redundant Add-On

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 21, 2011
Updated • Apr 28, 2015
Google Chrome

Update: We have removed the link to the extension as it received negative feedback on Chrome's Web Store because of malware. I find this puzzling as this is an official extension by Google.

How do you search when you use the Google Chrome browser? Do you enter the search term directly in the address bar, open the Google search homepage and search there or do something else?

Highlight to Search is a very popular Google Chrome extension that adds a feature to search by simply highlighting text in the browser.

And with popular I mean mighty. More than 71,000 users have installed the extension at this point in time. 2800 users install the extension every week indicating that usage is rising.

google chrome search by highlighting

But wait a minute. Highlight text and then search for that text on Google? Does not that sound all to familiar? Right. When you highlight text in Chrome and right-click that text afterwards, you get an option to search for the highlighted text on Google.

search google for

To be fair, the extension is not entirely redundant. When you highlight text after installing the extension, you will see a magnifying glass icon appear next to it. It is now possible to click on that icon, or the keyword itself, to open a search box with auto complete to search for that term.

So, the only benefit of this is that you can alter the search term if you like. But you can do that on the search results page as well. The negatives? Well, you are running an extension when you may not really need it. And, it does not work on https websites while the context menu entry does.

I cannot really say when Google started to implement the context menu search option. It can be that the company created the extension first, and added the search option at a later time. This would explain why I have reviewed the Highlight To Search extension before on Ghacks.

Why am I writing about a more or less obsolete extension for the Chrome browser? First, it is an official extension by Google. It has not been updated since February but still, it is official and advertised prominently in the Chrome Web Store.

Second, to demonstrate that it is not always necessary to install extensions. That it actually may pay off to look at the browser's functionality first before you go hunting for extensions for a specific purpose.

Have you ever installed extensions that you did not really need for a specific task? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. Serdar said on February 11, 2013 at 3:41 am

    I frequently select text, right-click and choose “Search Google for…” from the context menu. So I made a Chrome extension, Quick Search: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/quick-search/chgmjmpmfefgaiogdnnjbfcbgcflofgi
    Select a text:
    – hit Alt+Ctrl+S to search it on Google
    – hit Alt+Ctrl+W to search it on Wikipedia
    Hope this helps others :)

  2. Khal Mojo said on July 23, 2011 at 10:04 am
  3. BalaC said on July 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Just now noticed, there is a option for searching in context menu under FF as well that too without any Addon.

  4. 11fl said on July 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

    You can also drag highlighted text on address bar.

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