What was once Quicksilver would provide the basis for Google Quick Search Box. With both a community-supported version of Quicksilver that runs smoothly on OS X 10.6, as well as the Google-backed Quick Search Box, which is the better choice for daily use?


For years I (along with the rest of TheAppleBlog) have championed the launcher known as Quicksilver. Its versatility solidified it as a must-have utility on any Mac. But as OS X matured, the developer’s attention to Quicksilver waned, and he was eventually hired on at Google. Known for encouraging employee pet projects, Google soon announced Quick Search Box, which from all indications appeared to be the evolution of Quicksilver.

The story doesn’t end there. Quick Search Box started life as a fairly dumbed-down, albeit OS X-compatible, alternative to Quicksilver. It seemed that this new offering had the support of Google and would go far. In the meantime, Quicksilver’s code was open-sourced, and the community started slowly hacking away at it.

Now today, we have access to a community-supported version of Quicksilver that runs smoothly on OS X 10.6, as well as the Google-backed Quick Search Box which also works well enough. So which is the better choice for daily use?

I dumped Quicksilver a year or so ago in favor of Quick Search Box. The replacement was good enough for launching and finding files, and since that’s mostly what I used it for, things were good. However, as time passed, the functionality of Google’s product hasn’t closed the gap nearly as much as I’d like to see. Neither has the developer support really exploded in the form of plugins, as we’ve seen over the years for Quicksilver. Worst of all, Quick Search Box isn’t as responsive as I’d like.

So not too long ago, I went to Blacktree and downloaded the latest Quicksilver release. I found it to be much faster than the Google solution right away. Further use has shown it to be nowhere near as buggy as it once was (I have yet to experience a Quicksilver crash after a couple months’ use). But the best part is, all of the old functionality I knew and loved — both native (oh, how I missed complex triggers) as well as plugin support (let’s hear it for text and image manipulation) — is there and better than ever.

Whether you’re a current user of Google’s Quick Search Box, a past user of Quicksilver or new to both, I’d highly recommend taking a look at the latest build of Quicksilver. It’s been a happy homecoming for me, and I’m confident that the great functionality, speed, and extensibility that the app offers will make it of great use to you, too.

If you’ve found bliss with either program, please share your tale, and what it was that was the make or break feature for you.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. I wasn’t satisfied with either… QS was too complicated, GQSB was too limited. I’m very happy with the new option Alfred though. It’s very fast and simple and if you need more functionality you can buy the powerpack which I’m debating at the moment. Check it out!

  2. Having been a fanatic if Quicksilver in the past, (In no small part due to Nick’s coverage of it here in the past) and an avid user of Quick Search Box for a time, I have to agree QSB just doesn’t quite cut it. A couple months ago I moved on to Launchbar and haven’t looked back. It’s as good as I remember Quicksilver ever being, better in some ways.

  3. I’ve used both QSB and Quicksilver, but I’ve been using Alfred for a few months and it is definitely my favourite. I never used the complex triggers that QS offers and I do miss the fact that QSB plays really well with Google services, but as a basic launcher/file locater Alfred is great. I find it as quick as Quicksilver and much more responsive than QSB.

  4. used quicksilver … but now using spotlight …
    i’ve read good thing about launchbar …
    need to give it a spin …

  5. Alfred is the new hotness! http://alfredapp.com

  6. Thanks for the feedback everyone. QS is one of those – ‘when you pry it from my cold dead hands’ scenarios for me. But, I’m seeing Alfred enough that I’m going to give it a shot now – though some of the LaunchBar features are more well-rounded for what I want… Hmmm.
    On the other hand, I’ll be sticking with QS until one of these other options wins out.

    1. What functionality do you use in QS that is not available in the native Spotlight? I liked QS just fine, but found that I really only needed app and file launching (which works fine in spotlight).

      1. i use(d) QS regularly to move and copy files around the hard drive, email pictures/files, compress/decompress zips, and most especially to reference past listing in clipboard history. So definitely more than Spotlight can handle.

        As everyone is saying, Alfred looks promising, as does LaunchBar which has been around a while.

  7. alfredapp.com

  8. Try LaunchBar!! It is better than both QS and GQSB!!!

  9. I went from QuickSilver to Leopard´s Spotlight and now I prefer the brand new Alfred.app

  10. Longtime QS user who used GQSB for a while but went back to QS as soon as the stable Snow Leopard release came out. Works great, though I miss the regular development of the old days.

    I’ll definitely give Alfred a try though.

Comments have been disabled for this post