From MozillaZine Knowledge Base
Note: This preference was removed to consolidate search preferences in Firefox 23 (bug 738818). As of SeaMonkey 2.20 this preference, though not removed, apparently has no effect. 
When entering information in the Location Bar, Mozilla attempts to convert the information into a usable URL. For example, “mozilla.org” is automatically converted to “http://mozilla.org/”. When Mozilla is unable to discern what URL the user wanted, the information that was entered may be submitted to an Internet Keywords service. This preference determines the Internet Keywords service URL.
Possible values and their effects
Any valid URL may be specified. The keyword will be appended to the URL and then the user will be redirected to the new URL. The default value is:
In most Mozilla products; in Firefox and Sunbird the default was:
Recent versions allow this value to be localized.
In Firefox 2.0, the default has been changed to use Google’s “Browse by Name” service as part of Bug 323801:
- This preference only has an effect when keyword.enabled is set to true.
- 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.
- The default Internet Keywords provider in Firefox—Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” search—is the reason why typing a malformed URI such as ”http//www.mozilla.org“ (missing the colon after http) will automatically direct you to a site other than Mozilla’s.
- Mozilla may also attempt a simpler lookup by concatenating a prefix and suffix on the supplied domain name. This action is controlled by the browser.fixup.alternate.* settings in about:config.
Replacing Google with other search engines for location bar search
If you are not a fan of Google, you can replace it with another search engine, for example, Scroogle or Bing.
Note that these give 'regular' result pages, whereas the default Google string directly sends you to the most likely result if it deems the query unambiguous.
Go to about:config, find the keyword.URL preference, context-click (right-click) the preference name, select Modify and enter a new value. It is much like using a keyworded bookmark for a search, except the query is appended at the end whereas keyworded bookmarks replace %s with your query.
- For Scroogle, enter http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/nbbw.cgi?Gw=
- for Bing, enter http://bing.com/results.aspx?q=
- for Ixquick, enter http://ixquick.com/do/metasearch.pl?cat=web&query=
- for Yahoo!, enter http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
- For DDG (DuckDuckGo), enter https://duckduckgo.com/?q=
First checked in
1999-11-10 by Judson Valeski
Has an effect in
- Netscape (all versions since 6 PR 1)
- Mozilla Suite (all versions since M11)
- Mozilla Phoenix (all versions)
- Mozilla Firebird (all versions)
- Mozilla Firefox (all versions before 23)
- SeaMonkey (all versions before 2.20 )