OpenDNS, a San Francisco-based company that claims to offer faster Internet speeds to users who redirect traffic through its domain name server "nameservers," Monday began offering free customizable browser address keywords.
Shortcuts can be created for any URL, said OpenDNS. For example, a user could set up a shortcut that takes him to his favorite Web e-mail site when he types the word mail into his browser address bar.
"Today we give you shortcuts, marking the first time you've ever had control over how your address bar behaves," said OpenDNS CEO David Ulevitch. "Shortcuts are a cool way to use a short word for a long address." Shortcuts can also be used to launch nonbrowser applications, according to OpenDNS.
The idea, however, is not new, nor is OpenDNS's effort the first time keywords have been integrated within a browser. Opera Software's browser, for example, features user-defined shortcuts, which Opera calls "nicknames," that tie in with the browser's bookmarks. Mozilla's Firefox also has a shortcut feature that's available by adding an entry to the "Keyword" field in the Properties dialog box of every bookmark.
One advantage of OpenDNS's shortcuts, however, is that they can be applied across an organization's network so that a single shortcut -- say "in" -- takes everyone in the company, no matter which browser they're using, to the company's intranet portal.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer lacks a text keyword capability, though it offers Ctrl-Alt combination shortcuts.
To access shortcuts, users must register with OpenDNS and they must reconfigure their routers and/or systems to use the vendor's DNS nameservers.