THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

BetterTouchTool

Customize Your Input Devices


Alfred, Blazing Fast Quick Search

Quicksilver. LaunchBar. Google’s Quick Search Box. These are all applications designed to put instant information at your fingertips. For those having been on the Mac for a while now, you’re probably using Quicksilver - it’s really one of the first applications that brought this kind of instant power to us. Some users have moved on up to LaunchBar, which combines even more powerful features into a slim search box - it’s a power user’s dream. Then we have Google’s Quick Search Box, which is half quick search, half application launcher. All of these applications however, either offer too much or too little. Quicksilver has a confusing plugins pane and lots of features still need updating. LaunchBar offers features that the casual user won’t even touch. And Google’s Quick Search Box forces you to succumb to the Google singularity (and it’s not as fast).

However, today I’m going to show you the quick search solution for everyone. I’d like you to meet Alfred.

Imagine if you took Quix and Quicksilver, melded them together, and got this simple, easy to use application designed for everyone. That’s Alfred, and he’s really great. It’s just a convenient, easy to use quick search application that launches applications, searches the web, and allows you to search shopping sites and social networks for the information you need.

Here’s how it works: pressing the control + command keys open up Alfred. He’s pretty nice looking, and in the preferences you can change his theme from a pearl white to a tuxedo black. While certainly classy, how well does he dance? I don’t have an SSD or anything, but Alfred’s search was instant. I mean, I didn’t even have to wait for it to index anything. You can just start typing, and it’s smart enough to pull relevant data. I was impressed.

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

And searches are blazing fast. I mean, Quicksilver + LaunchBar fast. I’m amazed by just how robust this beta app really is - I seriously had to slick my hair forward after the initial rush left me blown backwards and wide eyed.

So to initiate a search of any kind, just start typing. Usually you’ll initiate either an application search or a web search, but you can tell Alfred what to look for with a few keywords. Simply precede your search with “open” to search for a file and open it on your computer, or “find” to reveal a file. The difference between “open” and “find” is that “find” will open the Finder window and show you where your file exists. If you’re searching the web, you can precede your search with “www” or nothing at all.

Sitting here in class, I demonstrated to a couple classmates a couple searches for things in Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, IMDB, and Facebook. As I was, my classmates were equally impressed by not only the speed of Alfred searches, but its accuracy. Like Quix, you can search these websites with just a few key words. Preceding your search with “amazon” will search Amazon’s website, while “wiki” will search Wikipedia for your favorite topic. Again, the convenience of this is just stellar.

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

Alfred App Mac

If you’re looking for an alternative quick search application that is user friendly, fast, and not bloated with features, Alfred is the way to go. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it thus far, and the beta is free to download at their website here.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.