One of the things that keeps me hooked to Chrome over Firefox is the search suggestions I get when I start typing in the Omnibar. Firefox’s Awesome bar doesn’t provide these live search results, and I’m too used to them to be comfortable without this feature. Google provides suggestions not only in the Omnibar and Google’s own search bar, but also when you type and search on YouTube. OmniTube is a Chrome extension that lets you search YouTube from the Omnibar, which is no big deal, but what sets it apart is that it also provides search suggestions as you type. This obviously lets you search faster, and at the same time, find popular searches submitted by other users. OmniTube does one more neat thing as well; not everyone who links to a YouTube video adds anchor text to describe it, and some simply add the link instead, which gives no indication as to what the video is about. OmniTube replaces simple YouTube links with their proper titles as they appear on YouTube.
Once installed, OmniTube will convert YouTube links automatically. If you prefer to keep YouTube links the way they are, head over to the extension’s options and change it so that conversion is manual by selecting ‘on click’ under ‘Replace links’ in the ‘Links conversion’ section. Each time the extension detects a YouTube link, it will now add a button in the address bar that you can click to replace the link with the video’s title and, complete with its total playback time appended at the end. OmniTube lets you customize the syntax of the title i.e. you can have the playback time shown at the start of the video title instead of the end, or remove it altogether.
To search YouTube using OmniTube, type ‘yt’ in the Omnibar (without the apostrophes) and hit tab. Next, type in a search word and you will momentarily see Chrome listing your previous search queries or matching items from your browsing history. In less than a second though, OmniTube will start showing you the search suggestions. As you type further, the suggestions will be refreshed to match the text that’s now in the Omnibar.
OmniTube is kind of old and while it works well, it seems that it won’t get any new features. At the very least, it should have a keyboard shortcut so that the links/titles can be toggled more easily. OmniTube does nothing on YouTube itself; the extension is meant to make searching YouTube from Chrome easier, and to help you identify links more easily. The cherry on top would have been an option to add a preview or video rating next to YouTube video links as well.
Install OmniTube From Chrome Web Store