Can I make Google the default search engine in TB11? A:Yes you can, either by add-on or manual steps

The ability to search the web is a nice new feature in TB. (I'm using TB 11.0 for Mac.)

I don't see an option to use Google as the search engine. Is there a way I can add Google, and make it the default?
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m happy to help
    5
    Roland Tanglao (Thunderbird Technical Support Lead) March 21, 2012 06:17
    Here's how to add a search engine into Thunderbird (using Google as an example)

    1 - First, locate your Thunderbird profile folder (instructions can be found here https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Runt... or here :
    https://support.mozillamessaging.com/...

    and create a directory named "searchplugins" if it does not already exist.

    2 - Then click on this link:
    http://bwinton.latte.ca/Work/google.xml
    and you will find the Google search plugin xml file. Save the content of this page as google.xml in the searchplugins directory identified in step 1. In Firefox, this can be done by right clicking anywhere in the page then 'Save page as...' google.xml

    3 - Restart Thunderbird.

    4 - Search for something, then click the Google icon on the side.

    To make Google your default search engine, click the little heart at the bottom. Now all your future searches will open up in Google!
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    • Tried to set it up three times without success. Pretty sad Mozilla.

      Silly corporate stuff aside, virtually the entire Internet community understands your unique relationship with Google and finding Bing (yuck) as the default search engine doesn't really help your cause!

      And to have to crawl around forums and knowledge bases for this information is inexcusable. Put a flippin' message about the search "issue" on your What's New page that pops up after users update Thunderbird. Geez.
    • The "save as" step is a very finicky thing. Tried it in Chrome; bad idea. Had to use Firefox. Use the second link to find your profile directory (i.e., https://support.mozillamessaging.com/....
      I had to restart TB11 a few times and search a few times before Google appeared.

      IMHO, I'd use anything *but* Bing, but thanks Roland for getting me Google. Politics aside, privacy carefully managed, Google is still the best search engine.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m happy people can re-add Google if they choose to and wish there was less "corporate stuff" in this world but glad to be working at Mozilla where generally there is less corporate stuff
    2
    Roland Tanglao (Thunderbird Technical Support Lead) March 21, 2012 06:32
    Oh and here's the reason aka "corporate stuff" :-) as to why Google was removed in TB 11:
    QUOTE from Marketing

    The Thunderbird default list of search engines reflects the agreements and authorizations we have with their respective owners. We do not have such agreement or authorization from Google.
    This is a change that's primarily driven by business agreements and we generally do not publicly discuss these details. We realize it can influence the community, but as it is, we believe that the default list of search providers will give great search results.


    END QUOTE
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  • I’m frustrated
    1
    I like the build-in web-search in Thunderbird 11, but I have no clue how to add Google as my default search engine. Bing is just not cutting it for me.

    I finally figured out that there is a hidden mail.websearch.open_externally setting that one can set to make it open in my browser, but no way to add google..

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    How do I add Google as my default open search engine in Thunderbird?.
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  • those steps didn't work for me. any other options/debugging techniques?
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  • I’m happy to have control over my TB again but sad Mozilla could not share the real reason for amending the list.
    It worked once I followed the steps EXACTLY. For some reason a strait right-click and 'Save link as' results in a different XML file that causes the search tab to be blank and hang. Actually visiting the page and a 'file save as' did the trick.

    Happy to be able to add my own preferred search engine back. Maybe this trick can be added to a wiki where others can add XML code for their preferred
    search engine?

    As for the corporate stuff: I think it is a lame statement as I can not believe Google would refuse authorization if asked. Guess M$ paid Mozilla not to ask. The truth will probably never come out.
    • I'm sure Google would be happy to hear that you have such faith in them! More faith than you even have in the Thunderbird team, it seems. :D

      I think I can assure you (without getting fired for leaking confidential data) that we did ask, and you can see the results for yourself. (I don't know how much money we're getting from Microsoft (if we're getting any at all!), but it seems to me that it would go against our principles to take money from a company in exchange for excluding another company, so I'm fairly confident we didn't do that.)

      The truth is out there. Posted in this very thread, even! ;) You get to choose whether to believe it or not...

      Later,
      Blake.
    • I trust Google to go after the money and after preventing Bing from gaining market share. That is all the faith I have in them.

      What I find strange, to say the least, is that Mozilla did not mention any of this on its official blogs or sites. We had to beg and eventually got a quote from 'Marketing' (who ever that may be) which can not be traced back to any official press release.

      The fact that Google was in the list before, indicates that either Google retracted its approval, or started complaining about never having given approval. Both resulting in Google being forcefully removed. Is this not news worthy enough to be mentioned? The fact that Google did not want to be in the list of Search Engines? strange....

      Since this is 'corporate stuff' I choose to believe that marketing does what it is hired to do: tell the (partial) truth in a way that suits the corporates, not in a way that suits the customers. We will never get the whole truth as we have not signed the Mozilla NDA, so lets just leave it at this.

      Thanks again for at least giving us this much. At least we can privately 'ignore' Google wish not to be used for searching in TB and add them back to the list.
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  • I’m tired of fixing new features.
    @ Marcel
    I found I had to copy the source of the page, else I ended up with a hung search page too.

    Thanks for pointing out "mail.websearch.open_externally" that was just what I needed to
    "correct" the configuration.
    • I had to copy the page source as well - doing a "save page as" in Firefox created something totally different.

      It is disappointing that there was no documentation about any of this: what search engines are built-in, the fact that you can add new search engines, how to do it, etc. But I've pretty much given up on documentation ANYWHERE in the modern computer world. I grew up in an IBM mainframe world where EVERYTHING was documented. But the world has changed ....

      Dan
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  • 2
    What worked on Windows XP for me.

    Go to searchplugins for Thunderbird. It is there? If not create it in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Go to seachplugins for Firefox. It is in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox.
    Copy google.xml

    Paste in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Reboot. It did not work for me without a reboot.

    Ron
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  • 1
    I followed the original instructions, but took a copy of the google.xml file from the Mozilla Firefox Program File Folder in the searchplugins folder. That worked instantly.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m happy the instructions work; I wish we could please the folks who want Google in by default but we simply cannot as explained previously
    Roland Tanglao (Thunderbird Technical Support Lead) March 26, 2012 21:06
    Hi All:

    Thanks to edbett and others for verifying that the instructions (or slight variations thereof) to re-add Google as a search engine to TB11 work.

    I am closing this thread because there's really nothing more to be said than what's already been said!
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  • Actually, there is: An add-on is now provided which adds back the Google search and allows to make it the default. This should be the easiest way for most.

    Go to the Google Search for Thunderbird page to download and install that add-on, or search for it from the Tools → Add-ons tab.
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