How to use Encrypted Google Search from your Firefox Search Bar

Now that Google has released an encrypted Google web search (background info here), you’ll want to make it your default search engine in the Firefox “Search Box”. This tutorial will show you how to do just that.

Using the encrypted version of Google search will very likely become the “default” in the coming months. For the time being, you have to specifically visit https://www.google.com to run an encrypted search. Note the s in the https part of the URL. That means the data being sent back and forth is encrypted, using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). You may have noticed that Gmail has been using SSL for quite a while now (https://mail.google.com) and your Online Banking almost certainly uses SSL as well.

Following the instructions in this tutorial will allow you to change your default Search Engine in the Firefox Search Bar from Google (or whatever it is now) to the “Secure” Google search.

  1. Start out by downloading and installing the Firefox addon Add to Search Bar. As with all Firefox addons, you’ll need to restart Firefox before the addon becomes active. Do so now.
  2. Now open https://www.google.com in a new Firefox tab or window. Right-click (or ctrl-click for Mac folks) anywhere in the search box and select Add to Search Bar… from the menu.

  3. click to enlarge

  4. A window will pop up asking you to give this “new search engine” a name. I used Secure Google (as seen in the screenshot below). You can also assign it a keyword, but that’s not required. Click OK.
  5. Now take a look at your Search Bar – the name in the background will be whatever name you gave your new search option (again, mine was Secure Google).
  6. Every time you search for something from the Firefox Search Bar when Secure Google (or whatever you named it) is selected, you’ll be running an encrypted search.
  7. You can make your new secure Google search the default option by clicking the small drop-down arrow in the Search Bar and then selecting Manage Search Engines… from the menu.
  8. Select your new ‘secure Google search’ entry by clicking on it once, and then click the Move Up button until it’s the top one. Click OK.
  9. Now every single time you run a search from the Firefox Search Bar, it will use the secure and encrypted SSL version of Google Search.
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • BenoĆ®t Gauthier May 22, 2010, 8:35 am

    Great! Thank you for this tip. Once the Secure Google search engine was added to my Firefox Search Bar, I deleted the Add to Search Bar extension to keep Firefox lean and trim.

  • Randy Mc May 22, 2010, 7:36 pm

    I installed the ap. However, I don’t see the ‘https’ thing when I do a secure google search. Am I missing something?

  • Ross McKillop May 22, 2010, 7:45 pm

    Randy – If you followed the instructions exactly as they are in this tutorial, and didn’t miss one step – like making sure to move your new secure search to the top of the list (step #7), it’s probably a Google thing. They’re rolling this out across their (millions?) of servers, and sometimes even when you request an https search, it will return with http. It’s uncommon, but not all of the servers have been updated, yet. They expect to be done very soon. If you repeatedly don’t get an https result, you may want to restart the tutorial from the top.

  • Tony O May 28, 2010, 8:39 pm

    After seeing this article, I did a search and found this add-on that adds the secure Google search without requiring a restart: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/161977/

  • fallsoff December 4, 2010, 6:46 pm

    And in Opera 10….?????????

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