24 July 2010

Open Google search results in new tabs

As I was saying in a previous article, I like to take advantage of tabs – preferably launched in the background - to gather a collection of pages and go through them later. It’s also a more efficient way to check out the results when you perform a search: if you don’t find something useful on the first pages, you can easily go back to the tab holding the search results and open more links. But in the most popular search engines clicking on a result overrides the tab containing them, so you have to specifically tell the browser each time to open the page in a new tab.

In search, you have the option to “Open search results in a new browser window”, but you need to activate it manually by going to “Search settings”. And since preferences are stored in cookies, it’s not really a permanent solution. Every time you erase browser cookies or use a privacy mode you are back to the original behavior. Google search open in new window

I have noticed that after enabling the preference, Google adds a new parameter to the search results URL: &newwindow=1. So creating a new search engine configuration for your browser(s) would solve the problem, because the parameter would be added automatically every time you perform a search:

  • Internet Explorer has an official page to create and install a custom search provider, with easy instructions.
  • If you create the search provider for Internet Explorer and save it as an XML file, you can use it in as well, since both browsers support OpenSearch. Simply copy the XML file in the ‘searchplugins’ subfolder of the main Firefox installation and the new search engine will be available in the search box next time you start the browser. Or you can install this search provider I have created, that in addition to the mentioned open-in-new-tab tweak uses the secure version of Google search.
    If you prefer to search from the address bar, the tweak can be replicated there with a small change to the Firefox preferences. Go to about:config, look for the preference called keyword.URL and change the default value to:
    This will also disable the “I’m feeling lucky” function; if you like to keep it, append another parameter &gfns=1 to this string before &q=.
  • In , you can easily modify the built-in search engines or add new ones, like I did to prevent Google from redirecting me to the country specific results page.
  • While it doesn’t support OpenSearch, has a built-in way to define new search engines, as presented in this blog post.

There are other parameters for the Google search URL, which also replicate preferences and make them more permanent:

  • With &num=20 (or 30, 50, 100) you can overwrite the default number of 10 search results per page.
  • With &safe=off you can set the SafeSearch to not filter the search results; on the other hand, &safe=active turns on the strict filtering (Filter both explicit text and explicit images).

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