Linux Mint – Changing the default search engine in Firefox

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In the preceding section, it was mentioned that the version of Firefox included with Mint differs from the others in the way that the search engine settings are configured. In this section, we’ll walk you through the process.


If you are already satisfied with Mint’s default search engine (Yahoo), then there is no need for you to complete this activity. Feel free to skip it if you wish.

So, why does Mint use Yahoo as its default search engine? The main reason is revenue. Maintaining and developing a Linux distribution is a very expensive job. A lot of bandwidth is regularly consumed not only by those who are downloading the ISO image itself but also by the many updates that are released and regularly downloaded by its users. Yahoo shares revenue, which its users generate while searching online, with Linux Mint. This is one of the ways that Mint generates funding to keep itself going.

The process of changing the default search engine in Firefox is as follows:

  1. First, locate the search box next to the address bar. There is a down arrow located in the search box. If you click on it, you’ll see an option to Manage Search Engines….
  2. In the Manage Search Engine List window that appears, click on the Get more search engines link at the bottom of the window, as shown in the following screenshot:
  3. A new tab will open to a customized Mint URL that explains the rationality behind changing the way in which search engines are managed in Mint. If you scroll down, you’ll find icons for other search engines, such as Google, eBay, YouTube. Click on the one you want to add.
  4. Another new tab will open. While this page is displayed, click on the down arrow in the search box again like you did in step 1. A new option to add the selected search engine will appear that was not there earlier.
  5. The selection to the search provider you added will then be displayed in the search box. From this point forward, you can use this newly added search engine to conduct searches online.
  6. If you’d also like to change the default search provider for address bar searches, the process is different. To do this, type about:config into the address bar.
  7. Click on the button labeled I’ll be careful, I promise!
  8. In the search box, type keyword.url.
  9. Double-click on keyword.url.
  10. Change the search string in the dialog box to the one that matches the one for the provider you’d like to use. If you don’t know what the search engine string is, you can find a list online. For example, type the following to make Google handle address bar searches:

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