De-Personalize Your Google Search on Firefox

Google will return a personalized set of results if you are logged into your account.  This can create the so-called filter bubble and I tend to turn this off.  But you can cause personalized results to default to being off in both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.  Here are my instructions for doing this in Google Chrome and tweaking the default search in the Omnibox.

Firefox has two search boxes.  You can search from the search bar or from the location – or Awesomebar – bar.  But it’s a bit trickier to turn off the personalization for these two than it is in Google Chrome.

Dr. Evil and the Search Box

The easiest way to tweak the search box is to use Dr. Evil’s Organize Search Engines.  Once it’s installed, access your Firefox Add-ons (Firefox menu) and choose the Options beside the add-on. This will show a list of the search engines you have installed.  Right-click on Google, choose Properties, click Add and add “pws=0” to the Parameters.

Customizing Dr. Evil's Organize Search Engine add-on to turn off Google search personalization

Customizing Dr. Evil’s Organize Search Engine add-on to turn off Google search personalization

That handles the search box.

No Personalization from the Location Bar

You can also search from the Awesome (location) bar, though.  This isn’t customizable in the same way.  For this one, you need to access the underlying Firefox configuration by typing about:config into your Web browser location bar.  Be careful.  These settings control how your browser works, so don’t change things without knowing the impact.

Scroll down until you find keyword.URL.  Right-click on it and choose Modify.  A small dialog box will appear and you type in:

http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=

Change the “.com” to your local Google if you want.  Be sure to include the ampersand (&) following pws=0 (that’s a zero).  Nothing goes after q=.  Click the OK button and your screen should look like the image below.  The next time you type a search in the location bar, it will run with personalization turned off.

Customize Firefox configuration to turn off Google search personalization in the location bar

Customize Firefox configuration to turn off Google search personalization in the location bar

 

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