Perform a Web Search From Your iTunes Library with This Simple Keyboard Shortcut

I stumbled on an odd iTunes feature, today, when selecting a song in my iTunes library, and pressing a keyboard shortcut. Instead of pressing Command-Shift-R to show the file in the Finder, I accidentally pressed Command-Shift-L. This bounced me to Safari, and performed a web search for the selected track.

It’s not a very “clean” search; it performed a search for all of the visible information in my iTunes library. The Google search field contained this text:

Cirkus 6:27 King Crimson Lizard 1970 4 12/17/14, 1:51 PM 1 of 5 842 kbps

That’s the name of a track, its duration, the artist, album, year, play count, last play date and time, track number, and bit rate. That data corresponds to the columns that are visible in my iTunes library. Hiding or showing any columns, then preforming the same search, only searches for the visible columns. Also, note that this only works when you are viewing your iTunes library or a playlist in Songs view, or another type of list view (such as Movie List, Audiobook List, etc.).

This search “feature” is a bit odd. It’s not very useful as it is, since it sends a search for all the visible tags. If it allowed you to search for, say, Name, Artist, and Album, it could be a way to quickly search the web for information about a song, leading you to an artist’s page, a Wikipedia page, or something else. Or to perform a web search for a selected movie, which might lead you to an IMDB page.

You may find this useful; I find it to be a curiosity. Like a feature that was in progress and never got removed, or a vestige of a feature that didn’t make the cut in iTunes.

Update: As a commenter points out, this is coming from the iTunes > Services menu. I don’t know how old that Search with Google service is, but that’s a good tip too. Select any text anywhere, press Command-Shift-L, and it’ll search in your default browser. This has been around for a long time; I find it mentioned in a 2004 article in MacTech about Mac OS X Services.

14 thoughts on “Perform a Web Search From Your iTunes Library with This Simple Keyboard Shortcut

  1. It is not so surprising…
    iTunes > Services has an entry under ‘searching’ with that shortcut equally applies to many other applications, including Finder when you select something (text), unless overridden by an application specific shortcut (Safari, Mail).

    Thing dates back to early days of OS X. In theory it should perform the search in the default browser, if that browser registered a service for searching, if memory serves. But my memory is a bit fuzzy there, going back to early days of Camino.

    • Thanks for that. I updated the article, and I found a mention of it dating back to 2004, suggesting it might be as old as the earliest version of Mac OS X.

      • Yes, as I said, thing goes back to the early days of OS X.

        The surprising thing for me, as far as iTunes is concerned, is that just selecting a song in song view (one click on the row) actually selects a text string. In the Finder, any view, one click selects the file and you cannot perform that search. But click a second time (select file name), and you then can press your shortcut and search the web.

        BTW, that shortcut also works inside the get info dialog window in iTunes, and I’m sure other places.

        • Well, you can select a song in iTunes, press Command-C, and copy its tags. However, as with the shortcut, it only works in Songs view or another list view.

  2. It is not so surprising…
    iTunes > Services has an entry under ‘searching’ with that shortcut equally applies to many other applications, including Finder when you select something (text), unless overridden by an application specific shortcut (Safari, Mail).

    Thing dates back to early days of OS X. In theory it should perform the search in the default browser, if that browser registered a service for searching, if memory serves. But my memory is a bit fuzzy there, going back to early days of Camino.

    • Thanks for that. I updated the article, and I found a mention of it dating back to 2004, suggesting it might be as old as the earliest version of Mac OS X.

      • Yes, as I said, thing goes back to the early days of OS X.

        The surprising thing for me, as far as iTunes is concerned, is that just selecting a song in song view (one click on the row) actually selects a text string. In the Finder, any view, one click selects the file and you cannot perform that search. But click a second time (select file name), and you then can press your shortcut and search the web.

        BTW, that shortcut also works inside the get info dialog window in iTunes, and I’m sure other places.

        • Well, you can select a song in iTunes, press Command-C, and copy its tags. However, as with the shortcut, it only works in Songs view or another list view.

  3. I selected some text in a previous comment (“early days of OS X”) and then applied the Command-Shift-L shortcut. This switched me from Firefox over to a new tab in Safari, and opened a search in DuckDuckGo, my Safari search engine of choice. Cool! This will be a time saver for a lot of info that I find in Firefox, but prefer to view in Safari, like YouTube videos.

    Thanks for posting this, Kirk! This is one of those dusty old features (like three-finger drag) that seem to disappear with time.

  4. I selected some text in a previous comment (“early days of OS X”) and then applied the Command-Shift-L shortcut. This switched me from Firefox over to a new tab in Safari, and opened a search in DuckDuckGo, my Safari search engine of choice. Cool! This will be a time saver for a lot of info that I find in Firefox, but prefer to view in Safari, like YouTube videos.

    Thanks for posting this, Kirk! This is one of those dusty old features (like three-finger drag) that seem to disappear with time.

  5. Thanks for the tip. In my experience, like Bob wrote, the shortcut always invokes Safari, NOT the default browser – similar to the right-click menu item “Search with Google” in Finder

  6. Thanks for the tip. In my experience, like Bob wrote, the shortcut always invokes Safari, NOT the default browser – similar to the right-click menu item “Search with Google” in Finder

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