This extension is no longer supported.
The extension does not work well with recent versions of Google search. The privacy impact of the extension is questionable because it enables search query tracking. But most of all: trying to fix the problems in Google search is futile; the correct solution is to switch to a better search engine.
I recommend users of Google search to switch to DuckDuckGo instead. It will be better for your privacy as well as your mental health.
Block Google Redirection is an (obsolete) Firefox extension which changes the links in Google search results to point directly to the real target pages.
By default, Google tracks your clicks on search results to collect information about search behaviour. This extension bypasses Google's link tracking to take your browser directly to the real target page. This is faster, protects you privacy and supports copy-pasting of links.
If you are using Firefox 10 or later, you can install the extension by clicking the download button below. (Firefox will warn that the author of the extension is unknown and that it may be unsafe to install it.)
|BlockGoogleRedir 0.6 for Firefox 26 and later||BlockGoogleRedir_0.6.xpi|
|BlockGoogleRedir 0.5 for Firefox 10 and later||BlockGoogleRedir_0.5.xpi|
|Source code for BlockGoogleRedir 0.6||BlockGoogleRedir_ff_0.6.zip|
|Source code for BlockGoogleRedir 0.5||BlockGoogleRedir_ff_0.5.zip|
|BlockGoogleRedir 0.3 for Google Chrome||BlockGoogleRedir_0.3.crx|
Note that Firefox extensions can access anything you do on the Internet. You should never install an extension unless you know it can be trusted. When you are not sure, download the source code of the extension to check that it plays fair and build your own XPI file.
This extension also used to be available for Google Chrome. However Chrome no longer allows third-party extensions.
To indicate that click tracking has been bypassed, the extension changes the color of the link from deep blue to greenish blue.
Why click tracking is bad
- Click tracking is slow. When you click on a tracked search result, your web browser first reports the click to a Google server before it starts to load the real target page. This extra step takes time, sometimes several seconds.
- It is often useful to grab the URL of a result link by right-clicking on the link and choosing copy link location. You can then easily paste the URL in a document or a script or another application. Click tracking is not compatible with this technique: instead of the real target URL, you would get Google's tracking URL. But the extension makes it work again.
- Web browsers use a different color to show that a link has already been visited. This does not always work correctly with click tracking because the browser does not recognize the tracking links.
- Click tracking invades your privacy. If Google knows which search results you actually visit, they learn a lot more about you than if they just see your search queries. There is no way to tell what they will do with that information or whether it will be used against you.
This is what the HTML code of a Google search result looks like. Note that the link points to a tracking service at Google, instead of to the actual target page:
In both cases, BlockGoogleRedir rewrites the tracked link into something which looks like the following. Modified links have a slightly different color via class="blockgr". Unfortunately rel="noreferrer" does not have any effect (known bug in Firefox).