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As with many web-based services, YubNub has a strange name but an interesting concept.

In this case, it is all about searching for information. For several years Google has been king of the hill when it comes to digging up information on the internet; so much so that “to google” has been recognised as a verb, much to the chagrin of their lawyers, who are concerned that people might google with Yahoo! much as they already hoover with Dyson.

Rather than compete with the big G, YubNub takes a different approach. A default search sends you straight into the arms of Google but you can prepend it with keywords that modify the behaviour of the system. For example: cakes will find listings about cakes; gim cakes will look for cakes in Google Image Search; d cakes will look up the meaning of the word on dictionary.com.

Replacing the default Google search bar with the YubNub alternative in Firefox provides more control without any extra mouse clicking. Ctrl-K moves the cursor to the search area where appropriate results can be conjured up by remembering the correct opening “incantation”. There are also options for other browsers or the YubNub site can be used directly.

In addition, YubNub has an interactive element. I have not experimented yet but it is possible to submit your own shortcuts to the site. Some will be widely useful; others might be personal (for example, searching my account to dig up a link). Rather than trying to defeat Google, YubNub applies a stroke of genius and harnesses it with myriad other services in a way that enhances the search experience.

Has anybody else explored it and got any “recipes” to share?

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