Everyone knows that Google Chrome dominates the browser market. Ever since it dethroned Internet Explorer in 2012, it's reigned over its browser siblings with an iron fist, consistently hovering around a 65% market share. But did you know that its search engine boasts even more impressive stats? That's right, Google's search engine dominates the market with 92% global usage. But just because it's popular doesn't mean it's the best search engine for you and your organization. As online privacy concerns escalate, it may be time to switch to a search engine that isn't owned by a company that generates 80% of its revenue ($147 billion in 2020) from ads.
If you've already kicked Google Chrome to the curb, transitioned to Firefox, and now you're looking for a new search engine, we'll show you how to change it using several different methods.
How to manually change your default search engine in Firefox
Changing the default search engine in Firefox using the settings page is quick and easy. I like to consider this the home user approach. If you only need to change Firefox's search engine on one or two devices, this method is all you need.
1. With Firefox open, click the menu (hamburger) button.
2. Click Settings.
3. From the settings menu, click the Search menu option.
4. Under the Default Search Engine section, click the dropdown menu to select your search engine of choice.
The dropdown menu will let you choose from Google, Amazon.com, Bing, DuckDuckGo, eBay, and Wikipedia.
Adding more search providers in Firefox
Fear not if your preferred search engine is a bit more eccentric and you don't see it in the dropdown menu as an option. Firefox lets you download additional search engines from its add-on browser. Here's how:
1. At the bottom of the Search settings page, click the Find more search engines link.
2. At the add-ons window, enter the search engine you want to use in the search field and hit enter.
3. Click on the resultant search engine, then click Add to Firefox.
4. When the confirmation window opens, click Add.
5. Return to the Search settings windows, and the Default Search Enginedropdown menu should now have an option for the search provider you just added.
Just because the rest of the world doesn't use your preferred search engine doesn't mean you can't. Go ahead; it's okay to be different.
How to change Firefox's default search engine using Group Policy
If you're a system administrator, I know what you're thinking. There's not enough time in the day to go to every computer and change this setting one at a time. Thankfully, Firefox provides policy templates that we can use to manage Firefox through Group Policy. Here's how to change the default search engine in Firefox using Group Policy.
1. Download the Firefox policy templates from its Github page.
2. Extract the contents of the .ZIP file.
3. Open the policy_template folder, then open the windows subdirectory.
4. Copy the firefox.admx file, the mozilla.admx file, and the en-US folder and its contents.
5. Place the copied items in the PolicyDefinitions folder in SYSVOL. If the PolicyDefinitions folder doesn't exist, manually create it. Here is an example path:
6. Open up Group Policy Management.
7. Right-click on the OU you want to link the new group policy to, then click Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here… I'll be configuring this on the user level, so I'll link it to one of my user OUs.
8. Enter a name for the group policy, then click OK.
9. Right-click on your newly created group policy object and click Edit….
10. Expand User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Mozilla > Firefox then click on the Search folder.
11. Double-click on the Default Search Engine policy.
12. Select Enabled, then enter one of the included search engines into the empty field. For this example, I'll set my search engine to Bing.
13. Click OK when you're finished.
With that policy in place, we can launch Firefox to make sure our default search engine has changed to Bing.
When testing, make sure group policy has had a chance to propagate across the network. You can also force it by running gpudpate at the command prompt. Also, ensure you're using an account affected by the new policy. You can also set this policy at the computer level if that makes more sense for your organization.
Is it time to change your default search engine?
With online privacy becoming more of a concern and a challenge these days, it may be time to change your default search engine. Thankfully, changing your search engine in Firefox isn't complicated, even if you need to do it across your entire organization.
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Born in the '80s and raised by his NES, Brock quickly fell in love with everything tech. With over 15 years of IT experience, Brock now enjoys the life of luxury as a renowned tech blogger and receiver of many Dundie Awards. In his free time, Brock enjoys adventuring with his wife, kids, and dogs, while dreaming of retirement.