QuickFix: Trivial Chrome Extensions

Almost a decade before I released the first version of Fiddler, I started work on my first app that survives to this day, SlickRun. SlickRun is a floating command line that can launch any app on your PC, as well as launching web applications and performing other simple and useful features, like showing battery, CPU usage, countdowns to upcoming events, and so forth:

SlickRun allows you to come up with memorable commands (called MagicWords) for any operation, so you can type whatever’s natural to you (e.g. bugs/edge launches the Edge bug tracker) for any operation.

One of my favorite MagicWords, beloved for decades now, is goto. It launches your browser to the best match for any web search:

For example, I can type goto download fiddler and my browser will launch and go to the Fiddler download page (as found by an “I’m Feeling Lucky” search on Google) without any further effort on my part.

Unfortunately, back in 2020 (presumably for anti-abuse reasons), Google started interrupting their “I’m Feeling Lucky” experience with a confirmation page that requires the user to acknowledge that they’re going to a different website:

… and this makes the goto user flow much less magical. I grumbled about Google’s change at the time, without much hope that it would ever be fixed.

Last week, while vegging on some video in another tab, I typed out a trivial little browser extension which does the simplest possible thing: When it sees this page appear as the first or second navigation in the browser, it auto-clicks the continue link. It does so by instructing the browser to inject a trivial content script into the target page:

"content_scripts": [
    {
      "matches": ["https://www.google.com/url?*"],
      "js": ["content-script.js"]
    }

…and that injected script clicks the link:

// On the Redirect Notice page, click the first link.
if (window.history.length<=2) {
  document.links[0].click(); 
}
else {
  console.log(`Skipping auto-continue, because history.length == ${window.history.length}`);
}

This whole thing took me under 10 minutes to build, and it still delights me every time.

-Eric

Published by ericlaw

Impatient optimist. Dad. Author/speaker. Created Fiddler & SlickRun. PM @ MSFT '01-'12, and '18-, working on Office, IE, Edge, and Web Protection. My words are my own, I do not speak for any other entity.

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