Tap here to go to the mobile version of the site.
Your Firefox is out of date and may contain a security risk! Upgrade Firefox

Support Forum

How to get get real, custom search engines on Firefox Mobile


So, I have been trying for some time to get my own, favorite search engines into the Firefox Mobile search bar. I finally found a rather complicated workaround:

Get a free account at www.shortmarks.com - use your spam-only Gmail address or similar.

Manually create a search plugin for Shortmarks.com and place it in the "searchplugins" folder of Firefox Mobile. On my Android phone, the folder is in


Create the search plugin as an .xml file with the following text:

<SearchPlugin xmlns="http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/" xmlns:os="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/"> <os:ShortName>Shortmarks</os:ShortName> <os:Description>ShortMarks</os:Description> <os:InputEncoding>UTF-8</os:InputEncoding> <os:Image width="16" height="16">data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAQAOZYAAAAAAcAAHsAAO0AAOkAADAAACQAANYFBfAAAMUAACoAABMAALsAANMAAEYAAC0AAKgAANsAAC8AANQAALYAAHoAAN4AAMMAAAIAAKUAANEAAH0AAMsAANcAABcAAHkAAFIAAOoAAGgAAHQAAOEAADsAAH8AAF0AAGkAAOQAAE0AAE4AAOYAAGcAAO4AAIsAAB4AAF8AAOUAAGIAAGAAAFAAAJgAAAYAAIEAAD4AAMgAAJ4AACYAAMwAABEAAMEAANYAAC4AAJ8AAN8AADQAAHcAAPQAAOwAAJQAAOMAAN0AAFwAADoAANgAAIIAAB8AAEEAAD8AAAwAAFMAACsAABwAAFQAADkAAP///wAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACH5BAHoA1gALAAAAAAQABAAAAebgFiCg4SFhoeIiYMAjI0BjYyPjAIDBAUGBwgJCgALDAgNDgAPEBESExQVFhcYGRobHB0eAB8RICEiACMkJQgmAA4EJwAVESgpKgArLC0uLwAwCCPEETEyMwA0KTUINgASCCg3OBE5Ojs8Oj0+P0BBQkNERUZDR0hJIUpLAExNLDJOADyBEgWKFAVTqDSqYuUKpIcQGymaSLGioEAAOw==</os:Image> <os:Url type="text/html" method="GET" template="http://shortmarks.com/s.php?q={searchTerms}"> </os:Url><os:Url type="application/x-suggestions+json" method="GET" template="http://www.keywordssuggest.com/complete/search?output=firefox&client=firefox&qu={searchTerms}"> </os:Url> </SearchPlugin>

... and place the file in the searchplugins folder.

After this, you can create your custom searches with shortcuts on www.shortmarks.com, and use them directly from the address bar.

So...: Is there an easier way of doing this?


Modified by nrabett

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

Search Google Twitter Shortmarks


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/535.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/13.0.782.107 Safari/535.1

More Information

  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
248 solutions 1748 answers

The mycroft site has an extensive database of search plugins http://mycroft.mozdev.org/

In addition you can find search plugins on addons.mozilla.org but they are mixed in with all the other extensions.

Helpful Reply

The search plugins from addons.mozilla.com can be installed directly in Firefox mobile, but - to my knowledge - not the ones from Mycroft. The advantage of using the self-made Shortmark search plugin it that it allows adding any search engine - not only the ones from addons.mozilla.com. Furthermore, you can import all custom search engines from an existing Desktop Firefox version to Shortmark, and access them directly by using the familiar abbreviations in the Firefox Mobile search bar - e.g., gb for Google Book search.

The process of creating this very useful function would be far easier if www.shortmarks.com was added as a downloadable search plugin from addons.mozilla.com. As said, search plugins cannot be imported to Mobile Firefox directly from Mycroft.

Modified by nrabett