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Chrome’s All Seeing Eye searches the text of every page you’ve visited

06 August 2014, Mike Williams

You’ve been online for hours, Chrome windows and tabs scattered everywhere, and now you need to revisit a particular page. Which would be fine, except you can’t remember which one it was, and the standard web history – just titles and URLs – doesn’t help at all.

Maybe you should have installed All Seeing Eye, a Chrome extension which takes a snapshot of every page you visit, indexes its text, and makes this freely searchable whenever you like.

While this sounds potentially complex, there’s no setup involved, no settings to consider, really nothing to do. Just install All Seeing Eye and it goes to work in the background, archiving every page (except for private browsing) as you visit.

Then, if you need to revisit a page but can’t remember which one, click History from the menu, enter a keyword and click Search. All Seeing Eye scours the text of every page you’ve visited and displays the screenshot of any matching sites. Click the one you need and it’s immediately launched in a new tab.

Run a keyword search and you’ll see thumbnails of any matching pages

The system archives the last 10,000 pages you’ve visited, their text plus a screenshot each, so this takes a chunk of disk space (the author predicts 5GB). This probably won’t be significant in most environments, though, and if it is a problem then you can tweak the code yourself: look for background.js and change the variable ‘total’ from 10,000 to whatever you need.

There are also some privacy implications here. Just as you can search your history very easily, so anyone else with access to your system can also quickly learn more about what you’re doing online, perhaps even viewing screenshots of password-protected sites (your bank statement, say).

Still, there are various ways to avoid trouble. Indexed pages can be deleted with a click. You can enter specific domains on a blacklist, ensuring they won’t be captured in future. Or, if you’re really concerned about others accessing your computer, you could just password-protect it and use Chrome’s private browsing for any sensitive sites.

Overall, then, we think All Seeing Eye is an excellent extension, an easy way to make better use of your browsing history. If you regularly have to go searching for recently-viewed content then it could save you lots of time.

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