The BrowserParrot app icon

BrowserParrot

Visit websites, find them again.

Download v0.6.5
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Features

  • Full-text search over every site in your browsing history
  • Search all your browsers in one place
  • Fast and local-first. Your data never leaves your computer and is searchable instantly
  • Your history stays searchable for as long as you want (the major browsers all delete your browsing history after about ~2-4 months)

A screenshot

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What is this?

A search engine over your own browsing history. Web search engines help you find sites you haven't seen before. BrowserParrot helps you get back to sites you have seen before, fast.

Why would I want this?

We've found that a suprisingly large percentage of our web searches were for sites that we'd visited previously, but didn't quite remember how to get back to. Usually after some amount of keyword roulette we'd eventually land on a combination of keywords that satisfied Google and resurfaced the page we knew was out there, but this approach has some drawbacks. In particular:

  1. It's slow. Using google or your search engine of choice for this requires trying some search terms, browsing through some results, eventually realizing the page you're looking for isn't among them, and then repeating the entire process with a new combination of keywords.

    With BrowserParrot this process is far more interactive: results update instantly as you type, so you can fuzzy search and try out multiple combinations of keywords to quickly find the page you're looking for.

  2. You aren't in control. While Google keeps a notoriously detailed profile of your browsing activity, they don't make this data very accessible to you, and in the name of 'personalization' constantly change the way search results for the same kewyords are presented depending on whether you're logged in, your location, time of day and a myriad of other datapoints that Google doesn't deign to share with us. In short, the keywords that get you back to your page today may not get you back there tomorrow.

BrowserParrot takes a simpler approach. With BrowserParrot you are searching over the titles, text and URLs of sites you've visited before, no more no less. Your history never leaves your machine, is never mined for ads or behavioral analytics, and is transparent and auditable. The database is stored in a common format (a SQLite db), and contains your full browsing history and the associated full-text for every web browser on your system in one place.

How do I use it?

If you have a mac just install it, wait a sec for it to index your browsing history, and then start searching! When the page you want to visit appears just hit Enter or click on it to open it in your default browser.

BrowserParrot also registers a global hotkey, so you can hit ⌘+E at any time from any app to bring up BrowserParrot and search instantly.

Right now we only support MacOS, but we plan to release Windows and Linux versions as well.

The following browsers are currently supported: Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Safari.

How does it work?

The major browsers store your browsing history as SQLite database files in your user account's home directory. Rather than asking users to install a browser extension or jump through other hoops BrowserParrot simply reads in each browser's own SQLite database and then stores the history in BrowserParrot's own db. Once your browsing history is safely stored in BrowserParrot's database, it proceeds to download the full text for each URL it has collected and indexes it for fuzzy searching.

Who built this?

We're two software engineers who believe that when it comes to computers we (humans) have barely scratched the surface of what's possible. There's a mind-boggling amount of potential and opportunity trapped in your data, but it's currently very difficult to access and do anything with your own data if you aren't the CEO of a big-tech company.

We want computers to work with your brain. Since everybody's brain is different, we believe the only way this can happen is if you are in control of your own data and able to change how you interact with it as you see fit. Your data should be local, in your control, and stored in formats that are durable, flexible, and open. It's your data. Use it the way you want to.

We decided to start with browser history because as coders getting back to that one SO post that succinctly explains how to do something we know we've learned before, but not being able to find the right post via Google is a problem we face regularly.

We see BrowserParrot as just the first step in a longer journey. BrowserParrot is built around a pluggable interface that can search over many kinds of data, and we are working on adding more plugins to allow searching over things like your Notion notes, Google docs, the people you follow on Twitter, chat messages, and more.

How will pricing work?

BrowserParrot is free while in beta and we're still building out the features. Once out of beta we plan to charge a fee. This will make it sustainable for us to continue developing the product.

That said, as a thank you to our early users we plan to offer free lifetime usage to anyone who signs up during the beta period. See business model below.

We're also very open to feedback. If you have thoughts send one or both of us a DM and we'll chat (contact information above).

What's your business model?

The longer-term vision is to charge for a suite of products related to using, searching and connecting data. BrowserParrot will be a component of this more comprehensive system.

Our aim is to completely change the way you find and manage all your data (because it is your data) across all your computers and cloud services. Part of the problem we're trying to address is the proliferation of apps that monetize your attention or your data rather than simply charging for services offered. We want this to be a sustainable product with a traditional business model (paying for a product or service) rather than an attempt to offer a 'free' product that you pay for with your behavioral data.

What do you do with my data?

Nothing! We aggregate it into a single SQLite database on your computer and provide a search interface over it to help you find your stuff instantly. None of your browsing data ever leaves your computer.

We are working on a plugin system to make it easy to query and work with your browsing data and integrate with services other than just your browsing history. If you've got your SQL shoes on you can also run sql queries over your browsing history yourself by editing BrowserParrot's SQLite db directly (stored at ~/.config/persistory/persistory.db by default).

Is my data secure?

Yes. Browser Parrot is a local app, meaning it runs entirely on your computer.

We don't transmit your data anywhere. You can confirm this for yourself if you're so inclined by using a network traffic monitor such as Lulu or Little Snitch.

How can I customize BrowserParrot?

You can change the global hotkey to bring up BrowserParrot by editing ~/.config/persistory/config.edn and changing the :quick_search entry (CommandOrControl+E by default) to your desired keyboard binding.

See the docs here for more info on the keycodes and modifiers that are supported.

We will be making this configurable from the BrowserParrot GUI soon, as well as adding more customization options to what kind of data BrowserParrot ingests (and how often).

Want to know more?

Come chat with us on Discord or Twitter or try the app and see for yourself.

Download v0.6.5
Join the Discord