Google Blogoscoped


Google search behaviour in firefox 3.0b5

spacecow [PersonRank 0]

Thursday, May 1, 2008
16 years ago7,223 views

I have been using the newest beta of firefox (3.0 beta 5) and have noticed they do something a little different with their google queries. If you type anything in the location bar besides a URL it sends it to google as a query. However it adds "gfns=1" to the query string.

Do you know anything about "gfns=1" query parameter in searches? If you add it to a search, it seems to do some clever things and take you straight to the first link (aka I'm feeling lucky) if it's "good enough". The criteria for "good enough" isn't clear, but it usually sends you straight to a brand name's site (mcdonalds goes to the, big mac goes to the big mac wikipedia page) and also seems to do it for some other queries as well (I tried "10 lane highway" and got sent to a news article which is the top result for 10 lane highway). If the top result isn't "good enough" you get sent to a regular results page.

I'm curious about it because it's really a neat feature and not one google has touted before. It can also be a bit frustrating as there's no way to override it and thus if you want to search for "10 lane highway" you would first type it in to the location bar, then get sent the wrong place, then type in in the location bar, then search google yourself. It would help if there was an "I'm unlucky" button to take you straight from the incorrect top result to the 10 result list.

Let me know if this is something you've heard of/seen before.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

It's Browse by name: and it's an old feature from Google Toolbar. The feature is also available in Firefox 2 and it replaced the old "I'm Feeling Lucky" that always redirected to the top result.

enterthephil [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Re " . . . as there's no way to override it . . . "--actually, there is: the default search string can be set to just about anything you'd like. In the Firefox location bar, type "about:config" (sans quotes) and press Enter. The preference is named "keyword.URL", and it appears to operate by prefixing the string stored as the pref's value to whatever "keyword" string is entered into the location bar.

mrbene [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

This also seems present in Fx, but strangely setting the "keyword.enabled" to "false" doesn't seem to prevent this behavior. I'm getting redirected to "" for "car", "" for "mcdonalds", and "" for "intent. I get failures to redirect on "blue" and "wander".

Shouldn't "keyword.enable" to "false" prevent this behavior?

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!