Wow, I feel sort of stupid, I never noticed this before. Mozilla (and Phoenix) let you save bookmarks with variables in their url and keywords to activate them - so you can have a special google bookmark that would let you type "google foo bar baz" in the location bar and have it automatically search for "foo bar baz".
Phoenix (the mozilla derivative I've been using recently) comes with a few by default: "google [search term]", "goto [search term]" (google's "I'm feeling lucky" feature), "webster [word]" (webster dictionary lookup), "quot [stock ticker symbol]"... that's pretty nifty. There are examples in the docs for creating automatic UPS and FedEx tracking lookups and a few others as well.
I upgraded the Gnome desktop on my workstation here to the latest snaps from Ximian's development snapshots. Boy, was that a big mistake. The desktop freaked out every time I logged in and became essentially useless (although I could always fall back to KDE I suppose).
I figured at this point I might as well take the plunge and upgrade to Redhat 8, so I did it, and it was a long and slow process, in part thanks to all of the customizations and Ximian-packages I had installed on top of the OS. I finally finished, though, and rebooted, to have it freeze.
So, valiantly, I booted off the install cd and went into rescue mode and switched it from Grub (where it was freezing) to Lilo, and then rebooted.
Voila! It booted. And then I logged in, or tried to, and watched it sit on the splash screen for 10 minutes. Sigh. I tried a few different things, and then said hell with it, and backed up my home directory and then rebuilt the thing from scratch.
Well, the side effect of having 3 boxes on your desk is having 3 keyboards available; in a fit of stupidity I hit ctrl-alt-delete on the box I was rebuilding and caused it to reboot halfway through the installation process. I started from scratch again, and the installer crashed a third of the way through.
Finally, after hours of this, I did it one last time, and now, triumphant at last, I have a brand new, totally clean install of Redhat 8 on my workstation. And boy, I'm exhausted. What a terribly painful process.