The feature I just thought of has been there all along..

So I was thinking about something or other today and wanted to refresh my mind on the details of it.  I know that i had visited a site on exactly the topic at hand sometime recently. 

This happens pretty often.  I think browser bookmarks are next to useless, as the web seems to 404 itself into content-expiration faster than non-refrigerated milk.  Also, at the time i'm at a site, i can't possibly be expected to judge wether or not i'll want to see this same site in the future.  If it's so darn important that i KNOW i'll want it, i'll commit the domain to memory without really trying to (i used to have wuarchive's IP address memorized back in the day.  typing out “ftp“ was much faster than trying to remember what came between “wuarchive.“ and “.edu“)

Usually what I do is google search for the exact terms that i think i would have used last time i was looking for info on this.  Then i look for the link thats a different color in the search results. 

Sometimes I look through my browser history, but thats too noisy to pick what i want quickly - usually doing a new google search of the entire internet is faster.

So today i had a great idea - what if there was a way to google search constrained just to links in your browser history.  I was all set to go post this suggestion internally and see what people thought, but i figured i'd check IE just to make sure no such thing existed, as maybe a right-click option on the history pane.

Imagine my surprise as hitting ctrl-H yielded me my usual history tab, but up at the top, a button called “search”.

Nice.  Glad i didn't make a big fit internally about how IE ought to let you search for terms in your browser history 🙂

That said, i think it'd be nice if the search UI categorized links under the same visual site heirarchy that the general history control uses.  Are you listening, IE people ? 🙂

So, that's my useful it-was-always-there new feature of the day. 

I wonder if a team of product experts across windows, outlook, SQL server, VS, etc observed my product usage habits for a week, what inefficiencies they'd notice ?  MS does studies from time to time where they put a bunch of people in a room and say “do this task” and video tape it.  This is great for understanding what things are cumbersome to use about our products.  This IE feature had been under my nose and I had finally noticed my defective usage habit and thought “i wish a product did that!”.  What other features am i missing out on?  What other things do i do foolishly just because i am not aware of the built-in better way ?


Comments (1)

  1. Cliff Dabrowski says:

    Great post, Matt.

    I too stumbled onto this feature lately. The desktop RSS reader I am using took a dump and trashed it’s own configuration data. I thought I had lost my blog roll. After a quick search through my IE history, I think I revived most, if not all, of them.

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