PGP Global Directory OpenSearch Plugin

The PGP Global Directory OpenSearch Plugin in action!The PGP Global Directory OpenSearch Plugin provides the ability to search for public keys stored on the PGP Global Directory using your web browser’s existing search button.


For users of encryption software from PGP Corporation, or Open Source equivalents such as GPG, the process of finding public encryption keys can sometimes be a bit annoying. While public keyservers have been around for a while, they often had a lot of problems. In 2005, PGP Corporation released the PGP Global Directory to address these problems by providing a trusted repository of public keys with verified email addresses. This directory is used automatically by software from PGP Corporation, and can be used (with some configuration) by other Open Source packages.

In addition, the PGP Global Directory also features a web-based interface. I thought it might be useful, on occasion, to be able to perform a quick lookup on the directory for a person directly from my web-browser’s search bar. Modern web-browsers, such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 support OpenSearch, a mechanism that allows (among other things) the development of plugins that can perform searches from within the browser.



Go here and follow the instructions.


The plugin adds an item to the dropdown in your search text field, allowing you to select the “PGP Global Directory” item. With the “PGP Global Directory” item selected, enter the name of a user you would like to search for in the directory and hit Enter. Your browser should take you to the search results from the PGP Global Directory. Note that you may be prompted to enter a word or phrase that appears in a distorted image (known as a CAPTCHA) – once you have responded to this challenge once, you shouldn’t have to do it again for some time. This CAPTCHA is used to prevent people from harvesting information from the PGP Global Directory automatically.


The PGP Global Directory OpenSearch Plugin is provided under a BSD license. A copy of the source code is available here.

Known Issues

  • Internet Explorer 7 not supported: Despite claiming OpenSearch support, Internet Explorer 7 unfortunately does not support the HTTP POST mechanism used by PGP Global Directory for submitting queries. Hence the plugin will not function in Internet Explorer 7.


PGP is a registered trademark of PGP Corporation. This plugin is neither associated with nor endorsed by PGP Corporation.

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