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: //www.google.com/search?q=
    • Yahoo: //search.yahoo.com/search?p=
    • Bing (formerly MS Live search): //search.live.com/results.aspx?q=
  • 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 google.com, 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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