Replacement for Keyword.URL Hack In Firefox 36 And Later
I’ll review an effective replacement for it lower down if you used it to search Google by name in the address bar but first, a quick recap on why it could be so useful:
What Could Keyword.URL Hack Do? Many Firefox users prefer to force Google searches in the address bar to search by name i.e. go straight to the most relevant website, instead of performing a standard Google search (which just displays a long list of results).
For example, if searching Google by name, when you search for ‘New York Times’ in the address bar you are taken straight to the nytimes.com website. Near-miss name searches such as ‘new y times’ can also take you direct to the right website – without having to display a list of search results and manually choose the most relevant one from there… This can save time and works particularly well if searching for a well known website or brand name.
Originally, we could manually tweak Firefox configuration (by changing the value of the keyword.URL preference in about:config) to force Google searches in the address bar 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 that Firefox 23 removed and let us configure searching by name again.
Sadly, it appears that new changes in Firefox 36 have broken the add-on and it is no longer available – which leaves us with the need for a replacement.
Replacement for Keyword.URL Hack – You may have already noticed that it no longer works in Firefox 36 and later – address bar searches are standard again (showing a list of results) and do not take you straight to the relevant website.
However an excellent replacement for its ability to let you search Google by name in the address bar is the Keyword Search add-on. It is simple to configure and offers extra functionality (if required) such as the ability to use a different search engine in the URL bar than you do in the search field.
First, install the Keyword Search add-on from Mozilla here. Once installed, go to Tools / Add-ons / Extensions and select Options next to the extension to configure it. The settings are mostly self explanatory – if you only want the ability to browse by name in the address bar then just change the Google Features: option as shown in the screenshot below:
In the above screenshot I have left the other settings as default because the reason we’re using this add-on is to change Google to search by name, not to use a different search engine in the address bar.
Whilst in the Extensions page you may as well take the opportunity to Remove the obsolete Keyword.URL Hack extension – the less code cluttering up Firefox extensions the better.
Tip: if you live outside of the US and want to always use google.com for searching (instead of country specific sites like google.co.uk etc) then tick the relevant checkbox in the above settings – a simple way to achieve it permanently.
Keyword Search is a useful add-on in its own right but also offers a simple way to browse Google by name in the address bar – it is a good replacement for this usage of the obsolete Keyword.URL Hack extension.