Ubuntu Firefox’s Tattletale Search Query

Search SimplificationHave you ever noticed that when you type a search term into the search box in the top right of your Firefox browser, that a load of junk gets added to the search term. For example, you search for ‘banana’ and you get something like this:


Well what you’re effectively doing is giving Google a lot of information for free. Which irritates me. All I really need is this,


and if they really want to know more about me, then they’re welcome to go digging through their logs.

OK its a minor irritation, but one that we can fix! I understand that Ubuntu does it as part of a deal with Google, but there’s no reason why we can’t take matters into our own hands and change the defaults.

So, the file you need to find is this one: /usr/lib/firefox-addons/searchplugins/google.xml, and you’ll need to open it in an editor as root.  So:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/firefox-addons/searchplugins/google.xml

If you use another search engine as your default, then choose a different file, of course. With this file open in an editor,  remove the offending lines. In the case above, its


Save the file, restart Firefox, and we’re good to go.  Now the problem is that whenever you upgrade Firefox, the problem reappears, so you might want to make a copy of the correct file, and write a script to replace it every time you upgrade.  I always manage to forget where the file is, so I’m blogging this for my own benefit as much as anyone elses …

Leave a Comment