Finding a website in your browsing history is easy if you know the title of the webpage or site. But if all you remember is the general topic, things get a little harder to find. There’s a new Chrome extension called Falcon that attempts to solve this problem.
Falcon describes itself as a “full text browsing history search.” What that means is Falcon indexes the text in the body of nearly every webpage you visit. Then when you need to find something, all you have to do is search for a keyword from any part of the webpage you’re looking for. If you only remember that the page mentions Alabama that’ll be enough.
All this convenience does come with some privacy and security implications that we’ll talk about later. First, here’s how to use Falcon.
As usual, you need to download and install Falcon from the Chrome Web Store (link above). Once that’s done, all you have to do is start browsing, and Falcon will start indexing your browsing history. It won’t index sites that were stored in Chrome’s browsing history before Falcon was installed.
When it comes time to search for a site in your history tap F + Tab in the address bar. This triggers a Falcon search. Now, just enter whatever keywords you need. Let’s say you’re looking for a page that mentions SSDs, type F + Tab and then type “SSDs.” Pages containing that keyword will appear directly below the address bar. Click on the page you want and you’re off to the races.
Privacy and Security
Falcon is an added convenience when you need to search your browsing history, but there are some privacy considerations. First, to be able to search for snippets of text in the body of the webpage, Falcon has to index all the pages you visit. All that information is stored locally on your PC and is not sent to the cloud.
There is also a built-in blacklist that automatically prevents specific sites such as banking from being indexed. If you want to view it, the blacklist is on GitHub.
Falcon also lets you add any site you want to the blacklist. Personally, to be on the safe side, I added every site I didn’t want indexed to the blacklist. I never assumed that a site I didn’t want the extension to touch was already on the blacklist.
To add a site to the blacklist, click on the Falcon icon next to the address bar and select Preferences from the drop-down menu. This will open your Preferences page in a new tab.
Under Blacklisted Websites click Add and then a blank space will appear just above the button labeled Add a site... Enter the name of the website in that space, and then in the drop-down menu to the right choose Entire Website. Now click Save and the site is blacklisted.
This page also includes a complete history of every page Falcon has indexed. Below that under Danger Zone! is a Clear All Data button if you want to erase Falcon’s database.
The developers are pretty open about how Falcon works, and they welcome anyone who wishes to view the extension’s code on GitHub.