Searching Google Via the Firefox Address Bar

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Searching in FirefoxLooking to change the default behavior of the Firefox address bar (i.e. when it conducts searches)? Right now, if you mistype a web address, it tried to find the website you were looking for, similar to Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” feature. The problem is, that’s not very useful for most people – as what are the odds it’s going to find it? Think about how many times you actually use the Google “I’m feeling luck” button.

Changing Firefox Address Bar’s Default Behavior

Competing search engines tend to send queries or mistypes in the address bar directly to your default search engine. This seems like a more intuitive approach than randomly guessing at a website. To change the default behavior of the Firefox address bar so that it uses a search engine to search, you can do the following:

  • Enter about:config into the Firefox address bar.
  • Locate keyword.url or type keyword.url into the “filter” box to search for it.
  • Double click on keyword.url.
  • By default, the string value for keyword.url is about:neterror?e=query&u=. This is what causes Firefox to guess a website. To change this, and send the query to a search engine instead, replace the string with one of the following, depending on your search engine of choice (if it’s not listed here, you can insert a similar string or comment below and we’ll find it for you):
    • Google: //
    • Yahoo: //
    • Bing (formerly MS Live search): //
  • Click OK to save your settings.

Voila 🙂 you should now be able to enter anything in the Firefox address bar, it doesn’t have to be a web address, and a search will be conducted using your search engine of choice. What this means is you won’t have to browse to your search engine, for example, each type you want to enter a search query. Quite the time saver, believe me.

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

While his foundation is rooted in web development, his expertise today lies in content and digital marketing, SEO, organic and paid search, analytics, and publishing. Alex is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs.

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Nice, thanks. I’ve switched over to Bing thanks to their more objective treatment of information (it seems Google is so hell bent on getting into the world of social media that their results are no longer as factual as I would like them to be!). Thanks to these code snippets I now have Bing setup in my web browser as well.

This is a fantastic idea! I usually use Google Chrome simply for that feature, otherwise I would definitely go back to using Firefox. I have always liked the features and the interface of Firefox better than either Google Chrome or Microsoft Internet explorer. It allows for a lot more customization and with all the users out there who make their own modifications, they allow for a great forum to download and use other peoples’ improvements.

It is a royal pain in the neck though when you type something in the browser bar and end up with some bizarre site you never intended to. That is one of the main reasons I do like Google Chrome though. Not having to navigate to the Google search site to enter my query and simply typing it into the main area gives me all the Google search results I need to find what I am looking for.

I do prefer the Google search over Bing and Yahoo as well. I have been a Google and Gmail user for so long, I see the results so much more clearly and have gotten to a point that I can predict more or less what is going to come up and also how to weed through the paid results to get to the real thing. That is one of the keys to being a savvy web user, being able to search through your search results to see the legitimate content you are looking for.