Liquid Information for Firefox, Research Add-on
Back in 2007 I reviewed the Firefox extension Hyperwords which gave you access to a research context menu after selecting text on a website. You could use it to search on various search engines, encyclopedias or news sites.
While I'm not 100% sure, I believe that the Liquid Information add-on is the successor of the Hyperwords extension created by the same company.
The add-on has seen impressive reviews on the Mozilla add-on repository with an average rating of 5/5 stars in more than 200 reviews.
The add-on has improved a lot in past years. When you first install it you get a small introduction window that explains some of the core concepts. From there you can open the program's settings which I highly recommend to make configuration changes (you can access the settings by entering about:addons in the Firefox address bar and clicking on the options button in the Liquid Information row).
You can select how the Liquid Information menu appears in the Firefox browser under General.
Options are to make it appear automatically when selecting text, to move the mouse pointer over an icon after selecting text or on right-click. All options work reasonably well in day to day use.
The layout tab defines how the context menu appears in the browser. Some categories, like translate, are not selected by default. Users can select all or some reference sites under each category, and new sites and categories can be added easily to the extension.
Categories are added right from the layout menu, new sites from the search form on the actual website (with a right-click and selecting Add to Liquid Information).
The tab named other finally displays a lot of settings, from choosing the default search engine over the way urls are copied and shared to how results are opened in the Firefox web browser.
It needs to be mentioned that the extension will use its own Google search engine by default and not the standard Google search in order to make money to fund the development. Users can upgrade to Liquid Information Pro in the add-on options to use the standard Google search layout instead. The developers are asking for a donation but are not enforcing it.
An alternative would be to add the Google search homepage a second time to the add-on's context menu to bypass this limitation.
The add-on can speed up research in Firefox noticeably, especially since you can add any search engine to the add-on's context menu.
Interested users can download and install the Liquid Information add-on from the official Mozilla add-on repository.
Update: The Firefox add-on has been discontinued. It is no longer available. We are not aware of any comparable add-ons at this time.
Update 2: The add-on is still available under the name Liquid Words. It works still for the most part but should not expect any updates as the website of the project is dead (you are redirected to it after installation but it is a parked domain).
With that said, the core functionality, the searching on the Internet works still as advertised which means that you can still use it.
A test in the most recent version of Firefox, Firefox 36 at the time of writing, was successful.Advertisement