NooG is a lightweight internet search bar for the Windows desktop.
We watched the installation process closely, because this is just the kind of app to trash your system with a pile of adware, but no – the entire program is under 2MB in size, nothing intrusive at all.
The interface is just as compact, a tiny 452 x 35-pixel search bar which remains on top of other desktop windows for easy access.
Basic operations work as you expect. Type a keyword or two into the search bar, press Enter or hit the Search button, and your default browser should appear with the results of a Google search.
Run another search and a new tab appears in the same window, with the relevant results.
If you don’t want to use Google, clicking the right-hand Menu button followed by “Search Engine” gives you three options: Google, Bing or Wikipedia.
Alternatively, disable the “Compact” display and the interface provides the option to select a different engine for every search.
The interface is a little odd, in places. That down arrow to the right of the address bar doesn’t display a list of recent searches, for instance, as you’d expect: instead it opens an Advanced Search dialog.
Still, these extra settings do give you vastly more control over the search, with options covering language, file type, time period, country, site-specific searching, even the browser you’d like to use to view the results.
These more sophisticated searches can also be saved for reuse later.
The program also supports a History dialog, which lists all your search queries in full, along with their date and time of use. (This can be disabled if you think it’s a privacy risk.)
This looked great, but is poorly implemented. You can find an old search, for example, but double-clicking doesn’t run it again. Instead it closes the History window – annoying if you’re not finished with it – and transfers your search term to the main bar, which means it takes another click to view the results.
There are various other elements we didn’t understand. You’re able to multi-select history items, and there’s a Run button which you might think would run these old searches in parallel, but no… Whatever we chose to “run”, the history window just disappeared and nothing else happened at all.
NooG is still a likeable tool. It’s compact, uses minimal resources, carries out simple searches with ease, and can handle more sophisticated advanced searches when necessary.
OK, the History feature needs work (it just doesn’t feel finished). Some documentation would be useful, we’d like more keyboard shortcuts for different actions, and there seemed to be occasional issues with browser state (sometimes searches wouldn’t launch at all).
Despite that, there’s the basis of a handy search tool here, and we’ll be interested to see how it develops in future.
NooG is a freeware application for Windows XP and later.