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I just changed to Linux Mint 17.3 and, to my surprise, Firefox is not auto completing Google search suggestions in the search tab (the small one, at the right side). This seems very strange to me, since auto complete works fine for the Yahoo search engine.

I know the Google search engine is not configured by default in Mint, but there should be no problem after adding it.

However, I did some research and couldn't find a definite solution. There are hacks here and there, but the ones I try didn't work and the other ones seem too experimental.

So I would like to know: How can I make Firefox's auto complete work for Google search the way it is supposed to?

  • Update: using a VM with fresh Mint 17.3 KDE I can reproduce it. Seems that Mint has taken politically-based measures to cripple search engines that don't support them financially, are commercial, and don't meet other set criteria. Explored a few options, just in case, without finding any solution. The earlier option of using non-Mint Firefox is probably the answer. Updates probably won't happen thru aptitude unless you can install it from there. I support the view of going with view-based defaults, but not enforcing that view in a Draconian fashion. Mint won't be a choice for me! Luck.. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 23 '17 at 19:24
  • I have updated my answer to handle the redefinition of your problem. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 27 '17 at 9:52
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I just resolved the same problem (on Linux Mint 18.2)

Go to https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/search/?type=search and add Google from there.

The default site you come from the preferences is https://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php and the Google addon there, does not work with suggestions

  • This is the correct answer, simple and effective. – Znorg Feb 17 '18 at 23:54
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It is not a Linux Mint customization, it is the default behavior, ever since the feature was introduced in FF v43. See how it works on the Mozilla Support page about it.

You can override it by typing about:config in the URL bar and, if you haven't already done so, accept the risks by clicking on the I accept the risk! button. Then, in the search box on the config page type browser.urlbar.suggest.searches, double click that to toggle it from the default boolean false, to user set boolean true. This will turn it on again.

However that will not make it work how it's "supposed to," as you asked, it's already doing that. Rather it will make it work how you want it too. Additionally, without anything in the history to feed it's suggestions, you still will not get anything in the URL bar as you type. My guess is that when you used Ubuntu, and turned history off, you still had data to feed it, but with a fresh install of Mint, all that data is gone, and with history off, it never will be there again.

I tested this with a fresh install of non-branded Firefox v43.0, when it was introduced, and v51.0.1, the latest version. Just for kicks I did try it with the SUSE branding applied; same results.

If you're trying to use this feature as a form of shortcut for sites you use often, you can do a workaround to get those sites to show up. Turn history back on and visit the sites you think you want to show up in the URL bar as you type. This will "pre-load" your history. Then turn history back off, and return to normal use. With your sites in the history, they will show in the URL bar as you type, but new ones won't be added from later use. Because turning on/off history requires a restart of FF, adding sites to the history on an as-encountered basis isn't very convenient, but it is doable since FF is pretty good about reloading tabs when it restarts.

Edit

Based on the edited description of the problem, here's a new answer:

Ok. I just couldn't let this one go. I spun up a VM and installed Mint 17.3, so I could see for myself exactly what was going on. After a little expirementing, I got rather upset that Mint had somehow 'hijacked' Google! I do computers for fun, but I expect them to follow my orders, not some unknown thrid party's. I've finally figured out what the problem is, and how to restore what you're used to.

What happened here is that when Mint upgraded to Firefox 2.0.0.12, they reached an agreement with Google to get paid for your searches. Prior to that, and after doing this fix, Mozilla got paid for your searches from Firefox. Anyway, in order to make the trail of clicks work Mint has to use Google's Custom Search Engine CSE, which removes a lot of the functionality from the Google interface. You can read more about that in Mint's Blog from when it started. Apparently, I'm not the only one that found the surprise underhanded. Amazingly enough, in the 9 years this has been going on, Google and Mint have, apparently, not found a better solution. The file structure, and just balut everything else, has changed significantly since then, so none of the fixes there will work. Doing a massive file comparison between the Mint source firefox_51.0.1+linuxmint1+rosa.tar.gz and the official Mozilla source firefox-51.0.1.source.tar.xz, and playing with the files in my Mint VM, I tracked down what was going on, and how to undo their handywork.

Now, if you decide that you like the idea of supporting Mint by using their version of search, but also want to have the "real thing" available, then make some small changes to the steps. In step 16, instead of replaceing the contents of google.xml edit it and change Google on the 2nd and 3rd lines to Google-Mint, then rename the file google-mint.xml. Create a new file google.xml and paste the Mozilla source into that file. Now, to do searching the normal way, go to the Change Search Settings and select Google in the dropdown and search as normal. To support Mint, go to the Change Search Settings and select Google-Mint in the dropdown, and use that for your searches. Best of both worlds. :)

The new text of the google.xml file used in step 16 is taken directly from the Mozilla source bundle, and is in the file browser/locales/en-US/searchplugins/google.xml.

In Firefox do this:

  1. In the Search Bar, click on the hourglass
  2. Click on Change Search Settings
  3. At the bottom of the page, click on Add more search engines...
  4. Near the bottom of the page, in the section COMMERCIAL ENGINES click on the Google logo
  5. In the Search Bar, click on the hourglass, which should now have a + icon in it.
  6. Click on Add "Google" with the funny logo
  7. Still in the same little box, Click on Change Search Settings
  8. At the top of the page, in the dropdown box, slect Google, again with the funny logo
  9. In the address bar, type about:addons
  10. Click on the puzzle-piece icon, which has a tooltip of "Extensions"
  11. Find the "Mint Search Enhancer"
  12. Click on Disable
  13. Click on Restart Now
  14. After Firefox restarts, close it.
  15. Find the file /home/<user>/.mozilla/firefox/<random>.default/searchplugins/google.xml
    • <user> is your username and <random> is some random string, which should be the only directory like that there
  16. Edit that file, replace the entire contents with this:
    • Caution the line that begins <Image width is over 7000 characters long. Make sure your editor can handle that.

google.xml

<!-- This Source Code Form is subject to the terms of the Mozilla Public
   - License, v. 2.0. If a copy of the MPL was not distributed with this
   - file, You can obtain one at http://mozilla.org/MPL/2.0/. -->

<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/x-icon;base64,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</Image>
<Url type="application/x-suggestions+json" method="GET" template="https://www.google.com/complete/search?client=firefox&amp;q={searchTerms}"/>
<Url type="text/html" method="GET" template="https://www.google.com/search" rel="searchform">
  <Param name="q" value="{searchTerms}"/>
  <Param name="ie" value="utf-8"/>
  <Param name="oe" value="utf-8"/>
  <MozParam name="client" condition="purpose" purpose="keyword" value="firefox-b-ab"/>
  <MozParam name="client" condition="purpose" purpose="searchbar" value="firefox-b"/>
</Url>
</SearchPlugin>

That's it. Everything should now work the way it used to.

Hopefully, since it is in your home directory, any updates won't replace or modify this file. Saving a copy somewhere isn't a bad idea, however. Just in case you have to reinstall Firefox, or your OS.

  • Based on the rewritten question, which totally changes context, I'm not sure what the problem is. I can't recreate it locally, so I can't guess at it's fix. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 23 '17 at 16:35

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