Keyword.URL In Firefox To Search Google By Name In 2019

Remember the popular Keyword.URL Hack add-on which sadly stopped working back in 2015? This was one of my favorite time saving Firefox add-ons. Once used, you wonder how you ever managed without it!

Its closest replacement, Keyword Search add-on, stopped working in 2017 – both were removed from Mozilla Add-ons so no fixes are available and they are now obsolete.

I’ll review a simple replacement lower down if you used one of these add-ons to search Google By Name but first, a quick recap on why this feature can be so useful:

What Could Keyword.URL Hack Do?

It saved time by forcing Google searches in the URL/address bar (or Search bar) to search Google by name i.e. go straight to the most relevant website, instead of performing a standard Google search – which displays a long list of adverts and results that you have to review and choose from.

For example, when searching Google by name, if you search for ‘daily mail’ you are taken straight to the relevant dailymail.co.uk website.

Even better, ‘near-miss’ name searches such as ‘dail mail’ or even ‘daymail’ also take you straight to the relevant website – without displaying a list of search results where you have try and find the most relevant…

This saves time and works particularly well if searching for a well known business, website or brand name. It really should be a standard option within Firefox settings!

Originally, we could manually tweak Firefox configuration (by changing the value of the Keyword.URL preference in about:config) to force Google searches to browse by name.

However, Firefox 23 removed that preference so the Keyword.URL Hack add-on was born – it effectively added back the keyword functionality and let us search by name again.

After it died in 2015, we could use the Keyword Search add-on as an alternative but that too is no longer available – which leaves us with the need for a replacement.

Replacement for Keyword.URL to Browse Google By Name

The default Google search in the Firefox URL/address bar or Search bar displays a standard Google list of results – it does not take you straight to the most relevant website, even if it is available.

A simple way to add back the ability to search Google by name in 2019 is to add a custom Search Engine Provider. This is simple to install and is not an add-on so has no performance or maintenance headaches.

First, visit the Mycroft Project website here and you will see 4 custom search providers. The latter 3 are for Canada, US and UK users respectively, the first is for users from other countries who wish to force the use of Google.com and ignore their own country-specific site (e.g. Google.fr in France).

Click on the most relevant (Browse by Name) search engine for your country to install it. You should see a confirmation message like this:

Keyword.URL alternative

Tick the box to ‘Make this the current search engine’ as shown above, then press Add.

You have now installed Google Browse by Name as your Default search engine. If you want to check this (or change the Default in future), go to Firefox Menu / Options / Search and scroll down to Default Search Engines as shown below:

custom search engine

Google (Browse By Name) set as Default

Tips To Browse Google By Name

If you now search in the URL/address bar or Search bar, the search takes you straight to the most relevant website if one is found. If no match is found, it displays the standard Google search results.

However, the new Browse By Name search engine also applies to searches using the Firefox right click / context menu as well.

Context menu search is one of the most useful search shortcuts but, in my experience, many people don’t really know it’s there…

If you’re browsing a webpage and see a word or phrase that you would like to run a Google search on, just select (highlight) that text then right click and choose ‘Search Google (Browse by Name) for…’

That automatically opens up the results of that search in a new tab – so much quicker than manually opening a new Google search page and copy/pasting the text into it!

The beauty of using Browse by Name as your search engine is that, if your highlighted text was a brand/business name like Apple then the Apple homepage is opened automatically, without having to find it in the search results.

Likewise, if the text was unique to a particular business e.g. ‘Touch ID’ then the relevant Apple page on how to use and setup Touch ID is opened for you.

Conclusion

Using a custom search engine provider offers a simple way to browse Google by name in the address bar, search bar and context menu.

It is a good replacement for this usage of the obsolete Keyword.URL Hack and Keyword Search add-ons, with the bonus that it isn’t an add-on that needs maintaining in future.

Found this article useful? Why not check out our other Firefox articles such as how to stop animated GIFs playing automatically.

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2 Responses to: "Keyword.URL In Firefox To Search Google By Name In 2019"

  1. Andrew says:

    Thank you for highlighting this replacement. Greatly appreciated.

  2. Carpette says:

    Thanks.
    I used the small researched bar to get wikipedia quicker, and google on the big one. I should be able to make it again.