Fixing Firefox 4 on Mac to Always Search Google in English

I travel a lot and go to different countries fairly often. If I’m in Belgium or the Netherlands or (most recently) Israel, the helpful people at Google know this. If I click at the top of Firefox to my Google search box and start typing, I will get redirected to a Google page that is in the local language. In Belgium I’m redirected to google.be, in the Netherlands I’m redirected to google.nl, and in Israel I get google.co.il, which looks rather interesting.

It’s easy to tell Google you want to see the web in English. In fact you can see the button to click right there (“google.com in English”). But I want it to know that I’m speaking English as soon as I submit my search from my browser. I don’t want to enter my search, see the results in a language I don’t speak, and then have to click a button for English.

Google in Hebrew. Cool, but not useful to me.

The trick is to create a new search engine definition and make it pass the hl parameter, set to the value en.

The way you do this is to go find the definition of the Google search engine in /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/searchplugins. Copy google.xml and rename it something like google-en.xml. Modify it to have the following line in it where all the other <Param/> tags are:

<Param name="hl" value="en"/>

Search engine selection in Firefox 4

You can download my google-en.xml. The file is named .txt. Rename it to .xml. Keep it in the same folder as all the other XML files. Now, go to your list of search engines (as shown below) and pick it.

Now, even though I get redirected to a local Google site, based on what country I’m in, I will still see results written in English, not the local language.