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I really, really prefer the search box. For me, searching the web and searching my history are very different intents; so activating them with different keystrokes doesn't seem like much of a burden.

I did too, but Google instant changed things. Try this:

1) Set your search engine to Google (if it isn't currently)

2) Remove the search bar.

3) Press ctrl+k (cmd+k) and start typing. You'll be searching on Google's site, by far the best search experience with Google Instant on.

The only downside is that you need a reasonably fast, low-latency connection for it to work well[1].

[1] Fine with decent Internet service, but what a downside it is on a lesser connection. The ~0.5-1 sec delay was unbearable on a 3Mbps DSL connection with average latency.

I often use the search box for of stuff other than googling. (Wikipedia, Amazon, arxiv, and a couple of specific wikis.)

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