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Just Search Portal update, now customizable!

The Just Search Portal - just got a big upgrade. It is now possible to customize the layout of the portal by choosing what search engines to see and where they should be positioned. The search buttons colors can also be changed.

The customizations are done on a separate page reachable from the portal main page. The settings are stored in a cookie and all is handled by javascript in the local browser. There is no sign-up process or any user registration involved.

Cookie consent!?

The customization page starts by asking the user for consent to store a cookie. The cookie is completely innocous and only used to store the customization settings. I'm not a 100 percent sure if it's really necessary to ask for consent in this case, but as the cookie has an unusually(?) long life time of 1 year, my understanding is that consent must be asked. I chose the maximum possible life time for the cookie to postpone loosing settings as long as possible.

The cookie regulations also mandate a function to withdraw cookie consent. That function is not completely useless, as it is as a way to purge the customizations and restore defaults.

Show All Engines feature

The main page now has a Show All Engines toggle. When enabled, all the search engines available are shown in a column layout. This feature makes it sensible to have a more limited set of favorite engines in the custom view, as less used engines can always be reached by checking Show All Engines.

Evaluation after 6 months

I have been using the portal for more than half a year now as my browser homepage and new-tab page. I'm generally happy with it - after I got used to dealing with the bunch of Search Portal tabs that easily ends up open in the browser.

My most common usage pattern is to press Ctrl+t to open a new tab, immediately type something to search for and then hitting Enter to send it to the default search engine. Sometimes I click another search engine, or a specialized search like Wikipedia. Often I would go back to the tab and try another search engine with the same query.

The search plugin is very handy and turns the portal into a much more generic tool for browsing the web. Selecting text and easily sending it to for example Google Translate, to a Wikipedia search or to a Thesaurus lookup is neat.

All in all I would say that I am happy with the portal and feel that it has sped up the way I search and access material on the internet.


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