Firefox and Spotlight on the Mac
November 29, 2008 8:52 PM   Subscribe

How can I set up my Mac to search Firefox history with Spotlight?

I'm running Leopard, and Spotlight has a great ability to search through my browser history to find a web least, through anything I've surfed using Safari. Is there any way to include Firefox's history in the searches?

I'd be willing to settle for creative ideas like transferring history files automatically on a schedule with a shell script.

posted by monkey85 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could sync your Firefox bookmarks with a account using Delicious Bookmarks, and then make the bookmarks searchable with spotlight by using delimport. It's kind of a crazy round-about solution, but it should work.
posted by scottreynen at 9:51 PM on November 29, 2008

scottreynen, thanks for that idea. I actually hadn't thought yet about bookmarks, so I'll keep that in mind.

I'm wondering more about browser history, e.g. I remember surfing a web site about X topic but don't remember where it was, and rather than searching the whole internet for the topic again and trying to relocate it that way, I can just search my own browser history to try to track it down.
posted by monkey85 at 10:01 PM on November 29, 2008

Oops. I don't know how I read "history" four times and thought "bookmarks" every time. is the only tool I've seen for exporting Firefox history, but that's all to one file, so you'd need to break it up further from there to get anything useful in Spotlight.
posted by scottreynen at 10:48 PM on November 29, 2008

Here's some info I've found out. Maybe it'll be helpful in creating that shell script.

Safari's history file is stored in ~/Library/Safari/History.plist. It's file type is property list (apparently the binary version) which is a "serialized data" format. There's a shell command plutil, which might be helpful. It converts between the binary format and the xml format.

Firefox's history is stored in a sqlite database in <profile name>/places.sqlite. Obviously, it's format is a SQLite database. I think the actual history is stored in the moz_historyvisits table. [That program was wrote in 2004, when the file format was different, so it won't work.]

Firefox stores bookmark backups in json format, which is a serialized data format. The actual bookmarks are stored in html: <profile name>/bookmarks.html. Unfortunately, plutil won't convert my bookmarks.html file to a bookmarks.plist file.

Hope this helps, somehow. Good luck.
posted by philomathoholic at 12:03 AM on November 30, 2008

Does it have to be Spotlight? I'm quite a fan of Google Desktop, which does exactly what you're after. You can search for a word or phrase you remember vaguely seeing somewhere on the internet, and it'll look through your browser history to find it. It's freeware, which is always nice.

Alternatively, there's an app called History Hound that does the same thing. I've tried it a couple times but never bought it, as it seems a bit cumbersome. I've heard great reviews of it, though, so YMMV.

There are plenty of other programmes that do the same thing, these are just two off the top of my head.
posted by badmoonrising at 3:41 AM on November 30, 2008

I don't believe that it adds them to the spotlight search, but Agile Web's free AllBookmarks adds a quick access search box and pulldown menu to your title bar for a number of different browsers.
posted by Caviar at 5:48 PM on November 30, 2008

I know this isn't exactly Spotlight per se, but if you're running Firefox 3, the address bar has this functionality out of the box.

See, it's called the 'Awesome Bar' and it has the, well, awesome capability of pulling up items in your bookmarks and history regardless of where in the URL the search terms come up.

Say I wanted to get back to this page. All I have to do is remember that it's about Spotlight, type "spot" in the Awesome Bar, and it's the first thing that comes up. I just hit tab to select it from the drop-down list, and enter to get here.

It also indexes your bookmarks, including whatever tags you've specified for them. It's so incredibly simple and powerful, I am frequently stumped when I find myself back in Safari and 'R+tab+enter' takes me to an error page instead of Google Reader!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 1:00 PM on December 1, 2008

It is my recollection, though internet history seems to be fuzzy on the subject, that the functionality represented by the "Awesome Bar" is a feature that first appeared in Opera.

It's not Spotlight, per se, but Quicksilver has a Firefox plugin that will index bookmarks and history.

Generally, the mozilla products are not very integrated into the Mac ecosystem, which kind of sucks and makes me want to not use them much.
posted by Caviar at 7:55 PM on December 3, 2008

« Older How might I set up creative workshops for...   |   Corporate Connections Web App? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.