Google Spyware – Mozilla Firefox

Now we have discovered that by using Mozilla Firefox as our current browser of choice, we have been unknowingly sending Google all of our search queries.

Google calls this practice the “auto suggest” feature in the Mozilla search bar and defends the practice as a way to “help” the user.

Great!

We do not have anything to hide, but we fail to see how the Google auto suggest feature built into Firefox is any different than Google spyware. We had no idea that by using the Mozilla Firefox browser we were agreeing to share our keyword search data with Google.

Why is Google collecting our search history without our knowledge or consent? And what is Google doing or going to do with our keyword search history?

The large Google investment in Mozilla is now starting to make sense. It appears that Google has co-opted the Mozilla Foundation by promoting the addition of “helper” applications to the Firefox code-base that ultimately serve Google’s corporate interests.

We can’t help but to conclude that Google ownership interests in Mozilla is at the expense of end-users who are unsuspectingly sharing their keyword search terms with Google.

What’s the solution?

De-install Mozilla or access the “about:config” geeky configuration settings of Firefox to figure out how to “disable auto suggest”.

In the end, it is all about trust. And the “Google Firefox” browser is quickly losing credibility for us.

We are unlikely to go back to Microsoft Internet Explorer, but to Microsoft’s credit, IE allows you to opt out of their search assistant.

It is time to investigate another web browser alternative.

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3 Responses to “Google Spyware – Mozilla Firefox”

  1. Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Phone: +1 650-253-0000
    Fax: +1 650-253-0001

    Mozilla Foundation
    1981 Landings Drive
    Building K
    Mountain View, CA 94043-0801
    USA

  2. This is controlled by the “keyword.enabled” configuration setting in Mozilla Firefox.

    If you do not want Mozilla to automatically send information requests to Google then you will have to disable the “keyword.enabled” configuration setting.

    Mozilla Support says:

    With respect to keyword.enabled, Firefox will first try to send your request to a keyword search service. By default, this service is Google’s Browse by Name service. You can control whether the Internet Keywords search is active by editing your Firefox configuration.

    1. In the Location bar, type about:config, and press EnterReturn.
    * The about:config “This might void your warranty!” warning page may appear. Click I’ll be careful, I promise!, to continue to the about:config page.
    2. Search for the preference keyword.enabled.
    3. Double-click the keyword.enabled preference to toggle it between true and false.
    * false disables Internet Keyword searches.
    * true enables Internet Keyword searches.

  3. Quote from MozillaZine:

    When the Internet Keywords behavior is triggered, information will be sent to the specified URL without prompting. This has possible privacy implications, though no more serious than accidentally submitting a search to Google.