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Google search has gone really basic and gives weak results

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For the last 2 weeks google has decided to go very basic and the layout has changed (see attached screenshot if it ever loads). A lot of the search categories like Shopping, video, maps etc. have disappeared leaving only web and images. Images only gives about 30 results and they're not very accurate. Web search is hit and miss too with some very strange suggestions at times. I don't think I've done anything to the setting at least not intentionally and it's working fine in Chrome. I've tried restoring it and all the usual tricks but nothing has worked and I don't want to go back to Chrome crashing twice a day. I'm using win10

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I've got it sorted but it took a bit of doing. It appears it was some kind of malware. I got a couple of malware and cleanup programs and loaded firefox again and it worked. The upside of it all it the pc is running better now and I've got good software on board now to prevent this happening again. Thanks for the help and it appears to be as I suspected some kind of malware, although I can't see what it was trying to achieve. Thanks for the help.

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All Replies (9)

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Finally managed to post a screenshot.

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That https://cse.google.com in your screenshot is a custom Google search engine.

Does the standard Google search work as you expect? https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl

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Hello and thanks for the reply. I hadn't realised that is was a custom one. Yes the standard google search works fine but can you please tell me how to change it back to the standard one? I thought I was going nutty. I even uninstalled it and reinstalled but it's still the same. It keeps defaulting back to the custom one as soon as I hit the search key or return.

Modified by ianrach

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The Google search engine that comes with Firefox is "locked" and can't be removed or modified.

Check Options > Search and see how many Google search engines you have. It is possible that you installed that "custom" search and need to select the one that comes with Firefox or uninstall that "custom" one.

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I checked that and the custom google isn't there. The google that was there I removed and loaded google UK but again it's defaulting back to the custom one every time I hit return in the search. I even uninstalled firefox and re-loaded it but it made no difference. Still defaulting to the custom search. I'm going to leave it till morning. I've been at it for hours now and just going round in circles. Thanks for the advice and I'm sure it's something really simple that I'm missing so maybe tomorrow with a fresh pair of eyes.

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I still can't figure out why this custom search is appearing. I can change engines to Bing and it works ok but no matter which version of google I use it reverts to the useless custom version. I ran a full virus scan and found a couple of nasty things, one of which was browser related, but even after removing them it didn't make any difference.

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Maybe the English (British) version of Firefox uses that custom Google search engine?

But if that would be the case I would have expected to see something like https://cse.google.co.uk/ rather than a .com URL.

Sorry, this "cse" thing has never come up before in a support thread that I have seen posted here. That's all I can think of right now.

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Chosen Solution

I've got it sorted but it took a bit of doing. It appears it was some kind of malware. I got a couple of malware and cleanup programs and loaded firefox again and it worked. The upside of it all it the pc is running better now and I've got good software on board now to prevent this happening again. Thanks for the help and it appears to be as I suspected some kind of malware, although I can't see what it was trying to achieve. Thanks for the help.

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I have a hunch that the end of the URL in your screenshot =partner-pub-715... might be the ID for whoever created that Malware - I would suspect that "he" gets a commission from Google for every web search that gets redirected and where that "partner ID" appears in the search parameters. Fractions of a pence do add up to some serious cash over time.

The new search engine scheme that came with Firefox 34.0.5, and has been updated twice since then, was supposed to prevent "stuff" like that from being foisted upon Firefox users (malware 'fiddling' with the "default" search engines) - but it looks like someone found an exploitable hole and took advantage of it. Unless that happens to have been an add-on search engine and nit the "default" Google that comes with Firefox.