Quicksilver + Summize/Twitter Search = Instant Microblogging Trends

[Updated] Clarified a few points to help out anyone who was having trouble. Points: 1) Make sure you have the Web Search module installed. 2) Check your 'target' panel to make sure it's empty. Thanks, @lightmanx5!

Quicksilver, as many have said before me, is one of those Mac OS X tools that is hard to describe, but also hard to live without once you've gotten used to. It's an application launcher, but also a hotkey binder, a web search, a system search, a music controller, a note taker -- all depending on how extensible you want it to be. If you're a Mac user and haven't given it a chance yet, I recommend you do so - it increases my productivity tenfold.

In any case, for those who have already discovered its awesomeness, here's one more cool thing that you can get Quicksilver to do: instant Summize/Twitter Search (by the way, Twitter acquiring Summize was by the far the smartest thing they've done in the last few months).

I've had a hotkey set up for searching Google since I started using Quicksilver (mine is Shift-Command-1), and I use it all the time for quick queries. And recently, I've been using Summize to track people talking about E3 on Twitter. What's the next logical step? Set up Quicksilver to query Twitter for trends! Yay!

Step 1: Install Quicksilver
Download latest version here. There are great sites to help you get started in the tutorials section. For this setup, you'll need to install the Web Search plugin, as well!

Step 2: Set Up Query Bookmark
Quicksilver responds to links prefixed with 'qss-'. If you look at the search results URL for any Twitter search, it looks something like this: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=robinyang ('robinyang' being our search example).

So take one of those URLs and bookmark it in a web browser. It doesn't need to be accessible through the bookmarks bar or menu; I hide it in a folder I use just for Quicksilver queries. Then change the name to something like "twitter search" and change the url address to this:

The *** tells Quicksilver that this is where your search term should go in the URL. If you've done everything right so far, you should be able to click on that bookmark and invoke a Quicksilver panel for Twitter search. Type a search term, and it should lead you to the Twitter search results page. Awesome yet? Moving on...

hotkey_assign.jpgStep 3: Set Up Quicksilver Trigger
Bring up the Quicksilver triggers panel by hitting your usual Quicksilver invoke key, then Command-' (that's an apostrophe). Click the (+) button to add a new hotkey assignment. Navigate to the bookmark you just created by typing "twitter search" (or whatever you named your bookmark). If you can't find it, check that you have the Web Search module installed. The Action panel should default to 'Search for Text on Web.' Make sure the Target panel says "Type to Search" (select the box and hit Command-X to get rid of any extraneous text, including the text icon!). Just one more step to go!

Step 4: Set Up Hotkey
Select your new trigger (it should be labeled "qss-http://search.twitter.com/search?q=***") and click the (I) Info button. Alternately, double-click 'None' in the Trigger column. Hit the 'Edit' button to set up a new hotkey combo for this trigger. I'm using Shift-Command-2 since my Google search is Shift-Command-1. And voila! That should be it.

Want More?
Here is a list of more web search URLs that you can set up with Quicksilver triggers and hotkeys. Spread the word. :)