This tutorial will help you eradicate Google from Mozilla Firefox, so that your browser does not send information about you to the Monster of Mountain View.
Step 1. Remove Google from the list of search engines.
- Click the dropdown icon next to the search box in the upper right hand corner of Firefox.
- Click “Manage Search Engines” (at the bottom of the list).
- A dialogue box will appear. Select Google and click Remove. Then click OK.
Step 2. Turn off “safe browsing”.
Firefox has a feature called “safe browsing” which reports information about your browsing to Google. This “feature” can be turned off by going to Tools > Options, clicking the Security tab, and unchecking “Block reported attack sites” and “Block reported web forgeries.” (You can take charge of your own browsing security by installing these essential privacy add-ons for Firefox, outlined in this separate tutorial).
Step 3. Disable location-aware browsing. Another Firefox “feature” that works in conjunction with Google, this useless piece of functionality allows websites to collect detailed information about where you’re browsing from.
- In the URL bar, type about:config
- Click “I’ll be careful, I promise” when you get the “This might void you warranty” warning
- In the Filter box, type
- Double click on the geo.enabled preference
- Location-Aware Browsing is now disabled.
- Leave the about:config tab open for next steps.
Step 4. Adjust and/or disable location bar search
When you type an invalid URL into Firefox’s address bar and hit enter (or mistakenly use the location bar in place of the search box), Firefox’s default behavior is to send this information to Google as a search query, whereupon Google shows you results for the invalid URL. We can modify and also disable this behavior.
- Clear the Filter Box by clicking the little X just inside the right edge of the box.
- You’ll see two listings. The first will show a Google URL. Double click this listing.
- A box will appear allowing you to edit the URL. You can paste in substitutes like:
- Click OK to save changes.
- Optionally, you can double click the second listing (
keyword.enabled) to completely turn off location bar search in Firefox. Replacing the Google URL first is still a good idea!
Step 5. Change your home page.
The default homepage for Mozilla Firefox has a Google search bar in it. You can change this by dragging the icon next to any URL onto your Home button. If you don’t have a favorite website to change to, consider making Bing your homepage. It features a gorgeous picture every day.