How-To Geek

Make Firefox Quick Search Use Google’s Beta Search Keys

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

After becoming addicted to the new experimental Google Beta Shortcuts that let you navigate through results with your keyboard, it started to irritate me that I didn’t get to use the shortcut keys when I use a quick search in the Firefox address bar using the “?” keyword. Good thing it’s a very simple to change.

If you don’t have a keyword bookmark for Google Search yet, you can start by making a bookmark to this link (right-click and choose bookmark this link), and name it something useful.

Now right-click the new link and choose Properties.


Here’s where you’ll want to add the keyword ? into the keyword box, to make it look like this. (If you already have a keyword bookmark for Google Search, then add in the URL above into the location box here.


Now when you search in the location bar using the ? keyword like this…


You’ll get sent to the new experimental keyword navigation results: 


I really should figure out why the google description for this site is so strange…

You can also install the google by keyword search plugin for Firefox or IE7.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/1/07

Comments (8)

  1. Jude

    I was wiping some water off of the edge of my keyboard and a translucent search box appeared in the middle of my screen within Firefox. I would like to know what shortcut key combo i hit to make that happened because I liked the way it displayed extended suggestions. I am the king of shortcut keys. I hate to use the mouse any more than I have to and rarely do. Any information would be much appreciated.

  2. The Geek

    If you were in Google Reader at the time, use the gt or gu combos…

  3. ÆL

    I wonder how long it will be till they get ads on there… since the shortcut help seems to
    replace that.

  4. Will

    @jude — are you using Google Desktop? If so, it was probably control, control (ctrl twice)

  5. Will

    By the way, you need to type a space directly after the question mark for this to work. ?your search term does not work. ? your search term does work.

  6. Owen

    this is kind of a different subject but I had a hell of a time finding out how to get the google desktop quick search (ctrl-ctrl) to use firefox. This was the first google result on my initial search so I thought I’d post the fix here. thx.

    Windows XP
    1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Add or Remove Programs.”
    2. Select “Set Program Access and Defaults” on the left-side of the
    3. Select the “Custom” radio button. If “Custom” is already selected,
    click the drop-down menu arrow to the right of “Custom” to expand your
    menu options.
    4. Toggle to Mozilla Firefox in the “Choose a default Web browser”
    5. Click “OK” to save your preferences.

    Windows Vista
    1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Default Programs.”
    2. Select “Set your default programs.”
    3. Toggle to Mozilla Firefox.
    4. Click “OK” to save your preferences.

    info found orig at:

  7. SuperDave

    Hey Owen I have Vista and I have Firefox as default browser, yet the quick search still opens in IE. Spent about 30 min. trying to find a fix no success. I will post this in forums as well. IE retains .url and 2 other extensions as well, but I cannot uncheck those boxes. Thanx Vista :(

  8. SuperDave

    BTW The correct fix for this in Vista is to go to Control Panel > Default Programs > Set Program Access and Defaults > Custom > Choose a Default Web Browser then choose Mozilla Firefox. While I haven’t checked to see if this fix holds after reboot it is the only way I have gotten the quick search in Google Desktop to open in Firefox. Fix found at
    from user mhenriday.

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!