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Following Google search links results in blank tab with nothing at all in Inspector

  • 7 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 31 views
  • Last reply by FredMcD

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I have this strange issue that cropped up within the past couple of months, without any known configuration or behaviour change. When I have Google set as the search engine in Firefox (FF) for macOS (various versions, including the latest 90.0.2 at time of writing), at a certain point after FF has been running (ie not immediately, but say within the hour) clicking on Google search results link results in a blank tab with literally nothing at all in the Inspector > Network or > Console etc for that tab. Copying the Google URI from the address bar and pasting it into another fresh tab in FF also results in the same problem. Copying the same Google URI into Chrome or any other browser, on the same OS at the same time, does not result in any problem (page loads fine).

I have tried all of the following, and none have made any immediate or long term difference:

  • Disabling all addons at the time of the problem
  • Performing a FF reset
  • Uninstalling and re-installing FF
  • Logging into Google in FF
  • Logging our of Google in FF
  • Logging into FF with a FF account
  • Logging out of any FF account
  • Tweaking a couple of about:config settings relating to FF domain stove-piping, since the problem started roughly around the time that was released
  • Building an entirely new PC (previous was macOS 11.4.x and 11.5 on Intel; current is macOS 11.5 on Apple Silicon) and building an entire new user profile from scratch, with all apps incl FF freshly installed
  • Using a different search engine (DuckDuckGo works fine, consistently, but when I change it back to Google the same problem starts up again after a while - eg within the hour)

This just feels like a bug (like nothing at all displayed in any part of the Inspector after a new tab is loaded with a Google link) but if that's true then

  1. I can't be the only person in the world seeing this; and
  2. It's surprising that it has persisted across a number of FF versions over a couple of months

I'm really keen to see this resolved because I do need to be able to use Google for search, and I do *want* to be able to continue to use FF (although this is unfortunately a significant head-wind to actually being able to continue doing so).

All Replies (7)

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Many site issues can be caused by corrupt cookies or cache.

Warning ! ! This will log you out of sites you're logged in to. You may also lose any settings for that website.

If there is still a problem,

Start Firefox using Troubleshoot(Safe) Mode {web link}

A small dialog should appear. Click Start In Troubleshoot(Safe) Mode (not Refresh). Is the problem still there?

While you are in Troubleshoot(Safe) mode;

Try disabling graphics hardware acceleration in Firefox. Since this feature was added to Firefox it has gradually improved but there are still a few glitches.

How to disable Hardware Acceleration {web link}

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Can you post a link to a publicly accessible page (i.e. no authentication or signing on required)?

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Thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to get reproducible cases. Troubleshooting mode makes each reproducible case go away, but so does just restarting FF. Will report back when I have narrowed things down a bit more.

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I can confirm that deleting all cookies found with "google" as the search term is the only thing that causes the problem to go away at the time it is happening. However, within ~10 minutes of browsing (a few searches via Google, without logging into Google) the problem comes back. Initially (after having cleared all "google" cookies) there are no new "google" cookies created, even after various Google searches. I need to look at what is in those cookies once they arrive again and determine whether it is the mere existence of those cookies that invokes the problem. Clearly this is related to whatever is in those cookies, but it doesn't happen in any of the ~4 other browser types I continuously use (granted all but Safari are Chromium based). So, will report back in case anyone else is chasing the same problem in Firefox.

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Do this for Google; Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox {web link}

Remove a single website from your history {web link}

Open the History Manager <Control> (Mac=<Command>) <Shift> H. In the search bar, enter the name of the site. Right-click on one of the listings and select Forget About This Site. This should remove all information, including any site settings And Passwords.

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I can confirm that the problem still happens reliably even immediately after having cleared all history, a là Settings > Privacy & Security > History > Clear History... > Everything, Everything (not just this site). Even immediately after doing that, typing a search term into the URL bar results in 100% nothing at all happening anywhere in FF. Also, clicking on an existing Google search result link, in another tab, also results in nothing happening. Again, no script blockers (and all extensions disabled). Change search provider to @ddg in Settings, load a new table, and search from URL bar works fine (but existing tabs with Google results in them continue to not do anything when clicking on the link (and reloading that tab makes no difference). Change search provider back to Google, open new tab, type into URL bar - nothing (still broken). Restart FF and everything is fine again for the first while - then the problem starts up again. The problem occurs when there are no cookies found under search term "google" (I know not all Alphabet cookies have that in their name, but as above this doesn't seem to be related to stored data).

PS I have always had FF password storage disabled, and there are no saved passwords in my FF.

Modified by paul375

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I called for more help.

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