How Google Transformed the Search Bar into an Action Bar

Every routine behavior should be analyzed for shortcuts. From brushing your teeth to driving to work to using Gmail. You are only a power user once you discover hacks and shortcuts to eliminate excess time. Google Chrome is no stranger to shortcuts and they recently launched a new idea that reinvents the search bar for the purposes of shortcutting.

.new Shortcut

If you use Google Chrome every day then you should learn all the keyboard shortcuts out there. Seriously, each time I use the shortcut for new tab, close tab, and move between tabs I probably save 1-2 seconds over using the mouse. Added over the course of a year, I’m calculating nearly 12 hours saved.

And these are just one-click actions I’m shortcutting. Google has a way of shortcutting upwards of a 5-10 click action.

Basically they bought the “.new” domain and infused it with actions correlated to G Suite.


Type in any of those (or a variation) in your browser search bar and it’ll create a new document, spreadsheet, presentation, or form. It’s a power move for G Suite power users like Ryan:

I create anywhere between 12-15 new documents every week. Since Q told me about, I haven’t stopped using it. My Google Drive is so complex, that navigating to a folder and then creating a doc takes nearly 8 clicks. Now, I type, create my document, and then use the “move to” feature to place it in the correct folder.

Easily saves me 10 minutes a week… Also known as 9 hours a year. That’s an entire extra work day from one simple shortcut!

Essentially, they’ve introduced the possibility of using the search bar for more than browsing or searching. It’s now an action bar.

The Action Bar

This could shift the search bar into a new domain (pun intended). Seriously, the Google Search bar is used more than 2 trillion times a year. And they’ve just created an entire new purpose and behavior for it.

On the Google side of things I could see:

  • – drafts a new Gmail message
  • – clear your history and cookies
  • – open and start a new Adwords campaign

Outside of Google products, they’ve opened up the “.new” domains to a select few so far:

  • – Create a new article on Medium
  • – Start a new playlist on Spotify
  • – Start a meeting on Webex
  • – Create an invoice on Stripe
  • – Create a design on Canva
  • – Create a new link
  • – Save songs from OVO Sound

Currently, brand owners can apply for domains here (with some trademark ownership stipulations). Which means we’re going to start seeing many more action-oriented “.new” domains. A few I’m looking forward to being created by someone:

  • – tells me of new restaurants to try
  • – tells me what is new in my area
  • – finds something fun to do near me

The power of owning the action for “” would be huge. You would effectively control the market for finding new food or food choices based on a location.

Every digital technology relies on habits in order to take shape. What easier habit is there than “”?

This is an entirely new route for the search bar – something that has already changed our lives once. Google is proving once again that they’re looking to innovate what they’ve already mastered. I’m excited to see the search bar become the action bar.