Pale Moon to remove Google Search completely

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 11, 2016
Updated • Jun 26, 2017
Internet, Pale Moon

As a user of Pale Moon you are probably aware that the team changed the default search engine used on the browser's start page to DuckDuckGo from Google Search.

The move made sense from a consistency point of view, considering that DuckDuckGo had been the default search engine for some time in Pale Moon.

That was not the only reason however why the team made the decision to switch the search engine of the browser's start page to DuckDuckgo.

According to the announcement, another reason for making the change was a conflict with Google over policy violations on the start page.

As you may know, the search engine traffic on that start page is a big portion of what gives me the income to make Pale Moon work at no cost to its users. Unfortunately Google has been pretty much cutting me off with claiming it is "invalid traffic" and that it would be a policy violation just because the browser is downloadable software.

Users who prefer Google over DuckDuckGo could switch to Google using the pulldown menu, or simply change the homepage of the browser to as the new start page.

pale moon google

This was not the end of the story though for the Pale Moon team. Three days later, the team stated that it made the decision to remove Google Search completely from Pale Moon.

Further communication with Google's ad traffic quality team caused the issue to escalate.

As a follow-up to the problems indicated in our previous announcement, Google's "Ad Traffic Quality Team" has decided to interpret their policies that are geared to preventing toolbars and external programs from changing user settings for home pages and similar as "you may not have a Google Search box on the default home page", basically trying to determine for us what our out-of-the-box-experience (OOBE) should be.

Pale Moon's solution to Google trying to force them to modify the out of box experience is a complete removal of Google Search from the browser. This has not happened yet, and it is unclear how the removal will look like.

Pale Moon users may still go to Google and run searches manually there, or use the !g bang of DuckDuckGo to redirect searches to google.

We asked Moonchild, owner and lead developer of Pale Moon and will update the post as soon as we get an answer.

Update: Moonchild told us that users will still be able to add Google Search manually to the browser by adding it as a search plugin to Pale Moon. Also, users are free to set the home page to any address they want, including Google's.

Pale Moon to remove Google Search completely
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Pale Moon to remove Google Search completely
The Pale Moon development team announced on August 11, 2016 that it will remove Google Search completely from the web browser.
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  1. Ruth Ann said on November 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Wow. Google is getting on everyone’s bad side. Even the CEO of Vivaldi rebuked Google for abusing it’s monopoly power. Google is quick to punish those who take a stand against them but absolutely REFUSE TO ADMIT THEY are the problem. This company has COMPLETELY RUINED YouTube for users and partners.

    It’s more of a dictatorship than it is a monopoly. Google is the Hitler of search engines, browsers and streaming. GOOGLE MUST DIE. I so pray that somehow Google LOSES ownership of YouTube and it once again becomes the FUN, INDEPENDENT, FREE, AD FREE site it started out as. A girl can dream can’t she? Google is evil.

    1. PAtriot said on July 10, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      @Ruth Ann

      “Google is evil”

      Aaaaaaamen ! !

  2. Graham said on October 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Moonchild announces major changes coming to v27.
    Can you maybe do an article on this?

  3. Disgruntled Gherkin said on September 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Goggle (not a typo) is the new M$, but worse. Kudos to the Pale Moon team.

  4. jm said on August 16, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I tried Palemoon some years ago and found that it didn’t work with all or only worked partially on some sites like banking and some webshops. Palemoon has moved forward and now supports all sites I want to use so it’s now my only browser. PM developers seems to aim at security for the user rather than to feed large companies that spy on us. I have been looking for that for years. It hit me that the sites it didn’t work on was usually sites that wasn’t safe to use anyway. No, I don’t mean adult one’s but rather sites loaded with complex scripting that would run and download all kinds of stuff onto my computer. Maybe it’s time for all us who are using and enjoying Palemoon to show our support to keep development going. If all PM users donated 5$ or whatever one large coffee cost in your country I’m sure we will get rewarded with an even better browser.

  5. Moon Child said on August 14, 2016 at 7:58 pm


    “Current web standards” as HTML5? That’s the only one.
    This cutting edge madness has to be stopped.

  6. clas said on August 14, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    to old coot: i believe a browser is a personal choice. most are like any other program and you have to work with them and get used to them and make your own little changes and tweaks with fonts and sizes and addons. only after using one for a while can you really make an informed decision. just because you have used one for years does not make it the best one, maybe only the best one for you.
    i have tried them all and given all of them a good and fair run. i have decided that pale moon is the one for me. its not cutting edge, but then thats one of the things i like. i have been keeping up with this rat-race of constant change for decades and i am tired of doing it. palemoon gives me a break. everything works for me and its a constant in my life. so why not give it a try. its free. it only takes a little effort. set it up and make the changes you want to get it to be yours….then use it a couple times a day…and go from there.

  7. Old Coot said on August 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Is Pale Moon able to completely replace MS IE 11 etc ??
    As with their attempt to shove Win 10 OS down everyone’s throat,
    I am becoming very alienated by Ms bullying attitude towards users
    of other search engines like DuckDuckGo.

  8. Kubrick said on August 13, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    On my linux computer i have tried all the big boys in the playground,chrome,firefox,opera and in my honest opinion palemoon blows them all out of the water and that includes the so called best browser in the world{chrome.}.
    Palemoon just works for me and the developer can be contacted on his excellent forum with any issues.

    They deserve a lot of support.

  9. PM4NOW said on August 13, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    PM or not-the-latest-FF, this is the way to browse. This cutting edge mania is really obnoxious and is either misunderstood by those who “upgrade” – no matter what will be broken – or even pushed… as if a latest-greatest version could give you internet points as a bonus.
    Does it work? Good, do NOT change it.

    1. wonton said on August 14, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      @PM4NOW there is a difference between “cutting edge” and “current web standards” the engine used in pale moon was forked from firefox 24 esr their have been extensive improvements in web technologies that pale moon lacks in ones that have being used all over the internet for years. now they have to race to re fork the browser on a new engine as they finally admit they are very behind in the tech with bad web compatibility just like windows xp to windows 7.

      but the same will happen after this coming re branch 27 base from 38 most of this is not cutting edge as it was released in Firefox a year or more ago but pale moon is yet to catch up. without re branching pale moon based from firefox 24 esr will simply be completely unusable in no time with a slow death.

      this whole google thing started when ask to remove a post in there forums that blatantly falsely accuses them of malice typical slander moonchild refused so they stopped paying ad revenue until resolved he refused so now has no google ads. how the google custom search was used is against its tos if used correctly there is no issue.

      two sides to a coin so far we only heard moonchilds were is googles official response @Martin Brinkmann should ask google for a comment.

  10. clas said on August 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    palemoon means sleeping well at night and not worrying about constant changes that make or break things. i am now on my second year with palemoon and am completely satisfied. my extensions work, browser is quick enough. I am 72 and realize that i dont have to be on the cutting edge of everything. new is not necessarily better and privacy is a top consideration for me.

  11. Anonymous said on August 13, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I loved Palemoon when all Firefox extensions worked on it. But I only really made the jump to begin with because of Australis. Cyberfox 64 bit has a CTR that makes it look like old Firefox if you want, and it plays nice with all Firefox extensions.

    I still keep a portable of PM on-hand, though.

    1. szatan serduszko said on August 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Not all extensions, many of them are too old for PM. :)

  12. Myself said on August 12, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I have Palemoon installed and I love it with Duckduckgo :-)

  13. George said on August 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

    It was either this or succumb to whatever Google was asking. A no-brainer really, anyone can switch back to Google as default search engine, if so they wish.

    Using Pale Moon for several years and this latest newsflash prompted me to donate (first time for PM). Feels good using a browser that puts the user so clearly in the first place.

    1. PALEMOON4EVER said on August 12, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      I, for one, create my own homepage with the most used links, search engines and search pages on twitter and so on. It is comfortable and useful for uncluttering PALEMOON.



      1. Lnstar said on August 18, 2016 at 4:48 am

        same here.

      2. Tom Hawack said on August 12, 2016 at 11:18 pm

        Make Pale Moon, not war :)

  14. Kubrick. said on August 12, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Will not deter me from pale moon.
    Best browser i have used on my linux system.
    Way to go moonchild.

  15. Pale Moon Rising said on August 12, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I would not for one moment contemplate trading Pale Moon for any other browser, period! It is an exceptionally safe and very robust browser with options that are plentiful including many that have been over the years both convenient and useful that other browsers chose to take away from users. Why in-the-world would anyone want anything else?

    Regarding all this consternation regarding Google; the fact of the matter is, Google isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be anyway, imho.

  16. Martin Brinkmann said on August 11, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Did you read the second announcement as well?

  17. Exagone313 said on August 11, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Ok it’s stripping out XML instead of html-encoding it… Wanted to say “{programming language} {function}”

  18. Exagone313 said on August 11, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Unless my search terms are commonly associated, like ” “, I don’t find an appropriate result on ANY search engine. And Google is becoming worse by removing/adding unrelated keywords, even when using their “verbatim” option.

  19. Birmingham said on August 11, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Google search has always been overrated. Who needs a billion results that are increasingly unrelated and poor from page 4.
    I’m fine with alternatives like DuckDuckGo and not supporting Google’s godfatherism.
    One more reason to use Pale Moon.

    1. gh said on August 11, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      duckandgo just never cuts the mustard each time I give it a try. Its results pages seem to continually steer me toward yahoo-owned sites. “Yahoo answers” as a topsite for technical questions? You gotta be kidding me…

      1. Tom Hawack said on August 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        DDG has many nice features and has added a time filter (the ‘Anytime’ button), unfortunately includes only Day, Week and Month : why not Year as well?!

        DDG remains my favorite together with Startpage (Google only) and Ixquick (other search engines without Google) and, exceptionally (when I’m on such a good mood that I forget the falcons and hear but the birds’ whistling) I call Encrypted Google Web Search (I’m seldom on such good moods).

      2. Paranam Kid said on August 12, 2016 at 6:49 am

        Try Sartpage: it’s using Google anonymously. No trackng, no ads, no shit.

      3. Anonymous said on August 12, 2016 at 1:57 am

        That’s exactly why I don’t use DDG. Private or not, Yahoo search results suck and are weighed heavily towards advertisers.

      4. Birmingham said on August 12, 2016 at 12:09 am

        I didn’t say DDG is my dream search, but I am FINE with Google alternatives, who don’t give me many shopping results on the first pages and track all my searches and clicks. – Didn’t notice this Yahoo Answers thing yet.

  20. RG said on August 11, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I just want a browser that works well with modern standards but doesn’t eat my CPU. For over a decade from XP to Fedora, Mint, Win7, Win10 using everything like Pentium 4 to Core Duo to i5 … still waiting. PM isn’t it either. The search continues.

  21. Tom Hawack said on August 11, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    If I ever switch back to Pale Moon knowing that Google is no longer in the default search engines list would definitely be good news.
    Users know Google from the sunny side of the street but I’ve often heard site admins complain of how ferocious Google is when it comes to business, to the point of positioning those who bring the company big money as lucky to have been accepted : power allows reversing the charges.
    Free of Google, account as well as search (only maps and sometimes images), cookies blocked for all Google sites, strong filters to limit as much as possible the GQuest, I nevertheless respect the excellency of its services even if I deplore its universal tentacles : too much is why I’ve put a space between them and I.

    Bravo Moonchild for having the necessary determination. I’m not surprised. Remains the loss of income.

  22. Rotten Scoundrel said on August 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Google search? never knew PM had it. OK, that’s a lie, I remove it from the list of Search Engines (and disable automatic Search Engine updates) as soon as I install PM. But, to my simple thinking StartPage is a better Search Engine.

    StartPage claim (but who can you trust with money involved?) to be fully transparent and logging-free. Using DDG does not free you from some tracking, albeit non-personalized, but your search request and results are scanned by DDG on behalf of data miners. They have to monetize, I understand that, but I think there are better options. Having said that, I have been wrong before. :)

    Try using WireShark while browsing and prepare to be amazed. For now anyway, StartPage is my go to search.

    1. Liv said on August 11, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      I have tried many search engines in PM but nothing comes even remotely close to ever replacing DDG for me. I even have to switch the search provider on other web browsers to DDG I’m so used to it being default.

  23. Skrell said on August 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    God I love PM! Finally a browser with balls!

    1. trek100 said on August 12, 2016 at 12:33 am

      about:balls :-)

  24. Anonymous said on August 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Even forced decisions are good with this browser > learn Mozilla ;)
    About Google invoking a “policy violation” > joker :)

  25. Phillip said on August 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Personally I see nothing wrong with this, as long as you’re still able to manually change it. It’s basically the same thing all other browsers do by default.

  26. ask said on August 11, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    it can still be added to search box manually right?

    1. CharmCityCrab said on August 11, 2016 at 11:37 pm


  27. Strong Sunshine said on August 11, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Palemoon: if you know it, you use it.

    1. Fx0 said on August 11, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Nope. I know it and I don’t use it. Too old engine and too much restrictions. I prefer a modern browser.

      1. DaveyK said on August 12, 2016 at 1:49 pm

        The engine is getting a little old now admittedly, although v27 is already available in alpha with a much more up-to-date Gecko back end, so this should be improved in due course.

        But “too much restrictions”? Compared with what? It’s far more flexible and customisable than Edge, Firefox, Chrome or IE. That’s the main reason I use it. That and the devs typically only make a functional change to the browser if there’s a good reason to do so, as opposed to Mozilla that keep adding and removing things on a whim every time the wind changes direction.

      2. 10110000000010110101 said on August 12, 2016 at 4:45 am

        no palemoon love around here? Looks great when customized and tight on privacy.

      3. Liv said on August 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        I love Pale Moon, especially since Firefox stripped away alot of customization options I really liked. As for the rendering engine I think it’s lagging a little behind with v26.x but Tycho (v27) is going to fix alot of that.

      4. Jeff-FL said on August 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        This. I know PM and …blech. It’s like being stuck in 2007

      5. Paranam Kid said on August 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        I agree. I used it then uninstalled it.

    2. Dave said on August 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Unless you’re a Ghacks reader, where you can’t avoid coverage of it.

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