Archive for July, 2010

Firefox comes with a set of predefined search plugins. Those are stored inside the Application bundle. Go to /Applications (or wherever your Firefox.app is), right click and choose “Show package content”.
This will open a new window with the Application Data and Binaries. Inside “Content/MacOS/searchplugins” you can find the preset search plugins. You may want remove those not used, I don’t think this has any speed impact, but you never use the wrong one then.

The searchplugins use a open standard which works for multiple Browsers. The default file on my System one see below:

<SearchPlugin xmlns=”http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/“>
<ShortName>Google</ShortName>
<Description>Google Search</Description>
<InputEncoding>UTF-8</InputEncoding>
<Image width=”16″ height=”16″>data:image/png;base64,[long base64 encoded image]</Image>
<Url type=”application/x-suggestions+json” method=”GET” template=”http://suggestqueries.google.com/complete/search?output=firefox&amp;client=firefox&amp;hl={moz:locale}&amp;q={searchTerms}”/>
<Url type=”text/html” method=”GET” template=”http://www.google.com/search“>
<Param name=”q” value=”{searchTerms}”/>
<Param name=”ie” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”oe” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”aq” value=”t”/>
<!– Dynamic parameters –>
<Param name=”rls” value=”{moz:distributionID}:{moz:locale}:{moz:official}”/>
<MozParam name=”client” condition=”defaultEngine” trueValue=”firefox-a” falseValue=”firefox”/>
</Url>
<SearchForm>http://www.google.com/firefox</SearchForm>
</SearchPlugin>

This is a xml file, and one can use any text editor to edit. We need change 3 lines.

  1. In the second last line starting with <SearchForm> replace http://www.google.com/firefox by https://encrypted.google.com/ (important! NO firefox at end!)
  2. In the line starting with <Url type=”text/html” replace http://www.google.com/search by https://encrypted.google.com/search (including the /search!)
  3. Remove the first Url tag (the one which has suggestqueries in it). Unfortunately it looks like google doesnt offer suggestqueries over https for now. If you do not remove this line, all your typing will search for suggestions at google without https, therefore rendering all the other changes unneeded. Your final query would be https encrypted, but before that it will check for suggestions unencrpyted. If your concerned enough to switch google to https, i assume you dont miss the suggestions anyway.

Thats it. Now your search field uses https. Don’t feel bad about google servers have more load because of this. Google is working on lower the footprint of ssl. So help them debug their stuff.

Side notes: IF you are paranoid, think about remove the 2 Lines after “<!– Dynamic parameters –>”. The first will tell google your FF version, your language setting, and if your FF is the official one. The second one is used to show google if your using google as default search engine. I assume both lines are used to allow Mozilla get money from Google. Since google is a big source of income for Mozilla, I actually suggest to at lest keep the MozParam. They deserve some money for their good work. Setting those lines to static values may help too.

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