Anonymize Your Google Searches in Firefox

In the wake of AOL giving out a bunch of their search data and the government talking to Google about getting search data, you might feel a little spied-upon. You can at least anonymize your Google searches with a little work. If you’re using the Firefox browser, here’s how you do it. NOTE: you won’t be able to automatically log into Gmail and Google’s other services if you do this.

One, clear your Google cookies. Open Tools / Options, then select Privacy, then the Cookies tab. Press the View Cookies button and look for google.com. Delete those cookies.

Two, in the same Tools / Options / Privacy / Cookies page, next to “Allow sites to set Cookies”, press the Exceptions button. Add the following websites to your list: www.google.com, google.com, mail.google.com. In each case, type in the address and press the “Allow for Session” button. That will let Firefox keep your Google cookies until you close the browser, at which time it’ll erase the cookies.

Three, install the CustomizeGoogle plugin. CustomizeGoogle can do a lot of nice things, but the main thing we’re going to use it for here is to scramble your Google cookies.

Four, under Tools / CustomizeGoogle options, select the Privacy tab. Select both “Anonymize the Google cookie UID” and “Don’t send any cookies to Google Analytics.”

That should do it. Now, Google can still link your searches to your IP address. If you really want to be careful, you can set things up so that all of your Google searches go through anonymous proxies, as others have described.