Windows only: You don't need a browser opened to launch a web search with Dave's Quick Search Deskbar. It's a Google-powered Leatherman for your taskbar, pulling off almost any search with a Windows key shortcut.
The lightning-quick way to use DQSD is to hit Win+S, type a search, and hit Enter to see the Google page result. Even faster is adding a ! to the end, which brings up the "I'm Feeling Lucky" result. Want someone's phone number from Google's results? Try something like "Jim Smith (rochester, ny)#" to signify a contact search in Rochester, NY, or end it with the @ symbol for an email search. Translate "A certain I don't know what" from English to French with "a certain I don't know what en-fr" using FreeTranslation.com. There are many, many more searches to try out, so dig around in the sub-menus by clicking the little button the right edge of the deskbar, or simply enter ? into the deskbar itself.
DQSD also offers wide-open access to its configuration files and explains how to hack up your own site search keywords. If FORM digging and manual URL writing isn't your thing, there's an Internet Explorer plug-in that makes it easier to embed site searches into DQSD.
Like many toolbar plug-ins, DQSD doesn't always update itself to match whatever theme you switch your system to. But it does offer a host of colour changes that can fit in quite nicely, including a native look that matches the Royale Noir theme and other native colours.
DQSD is a free download, works on Windows systems all the way back to Windows 95 (seriously). I ran into some "script errors" while trying to move the deskbar into position on my taskbar, but once I stopped fiddling, everything run fine. The link below offers more detailed instructions and work-arounds for those who aren't seeing their deskbar show up. If you're a fan of Dave's creation and have a few use or search suggestions—by all means, make your presence known in the comments. Thanks MLL!