Google encypted searching

That “series of tubes” known as the Internet went nuts two weeks ago because Google now allows you to use their search engine through https. I consider this a good thing; the more traffic that flows around encrypted the better. Yeah, there is some overhead to it, but everything has a price and I feel the price is well worth paying.

Of course there are a slew of blogs out there telling Firefox users how to use this feature. Saying pretty much the same thing: install a search engine plugin (of which there are 10 on Add-ons for Firefox) and you're good to go. But there is a small problem; I don’t use the search box. I type my searches in the address field and the one plugin that I did try didn’t change this - I was still searching unencrypted. So like a good geek I went searching for an answer and found it. It's a little preference called keyword.URL

All you have to do is:

  • (in a new window or tab) open up about:config
  • Promise to be really careful ;)
  • Type “keyword” in the text field at the top and you’ll get back two entries:

    1. keyword.URL
    2. keyword.enabled
  • You’ll notice the default of keyword.URL as : http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=

    And we’ll just make a small change of adding an “s” to the end of http:

    https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=

  • verify that “keyword.enabled” is true, otherwise this little hack won’t work.

And that is all. Now the next time you use the address bar to search, you to will be searching through https. One note though for vimperator users - this trick unfortunately doesn’t work (yeah, I’m bummed about that too). I’m not sure why and I hope to figure that out next, but for now we’ll just have to wait a little longer.

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