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Browse the Web via keyboard with gleeBox

Browser extension gleeBox lets Chrome and Safari users ditch their mouse or touch pad when Web surfing.

When not blogging for CNET, I review laptops and other tech products. And I've come across a shocking number of laptops with what I can only describe as crappy touch pads, from poorly integrated mouse buttons to mouse buttons that are too stiff to unresponsive performance from the touch pad itself. If you are saddled with such a laptop, you may find that browser extension gleeBox lives up to its name.

gleeBox is available for Chrome and Safari (the gleeBox Firefox add-on is out of date). At its core, it lets you tab from one link to another on a page. After installing the extension, hit the "G" key to launch gleeBox. A large, gray search bar appears, awaiting your text command. Enter a word or phrase, and if that term is included in any links on the page, those links will be highlighted. You can use the tab key to move between the highlighted links. Hit Enter to open the link, or Shift+Enter to open the link in a new tab.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

If your search term is not included in any links on your current page, hitting Enter will open a search results page. gleeBox uses Google by default, but you can change it to Bing or DuckDuckGo in settings. Elsewhere in settings, you can change the color and size of the gleeBox window, and you can choose another launch key.

What else can you do with gleeBox? Well, you can also type a URL into gleeBox and hit Enter to be taken directly to that page. Hitting Esc clears any terms entered in gleeBox, and hitting Esc again closes gleeBox.

There's also a number of commands that gleeBox understands. For example, if you encounter a long Web page and are loath to scroll down, open gleeBox and enter ?h to highlight all of the headlines on the page. You can then use tab to move from one to the next. Hitting enter opens the current tab highlighted in green (the rest are highlighted in yellow). Another command is :fbshare $, which lets you share the page you are viewing on Facebook.

For more on gleeBox, take a look at this video from one of its developers: