In Google search results, in Firefox or Chrome, I get URLs that go through Google and not directly to the target site. For example, at


the first result is


I don't really care that Google is tracking what I click, and I don't really care about the extra indirection when I click on a result (though both are concerns). But I find it annoying that I can't copy-paste a result by simply right-clicking on a link and choosing “copy link address” (I want to get the real result, not Google's redirection to it).

I want to have the direct URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foobar, at least for copy-paste purposes, in Firefox and Chrome.

Google's behavior changed several times:

  • When I asked this question, in a browser without Javascript, you got direct URLs in results: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foobar. The indirection was added via Javascript.
  • Some time later, Google changed to provide indirect results in all browsers.
  • Since 2012-09-04, it seems that:

    • In a browser without JS, the HTML still contains indirect results.
    • In a browser with JS support (at least in recent Firefox and Chrome), the HTML contains a direct result in the href attribute, but there is an onmousedown attribute that invokes the rwt function which does rewrite the link. You see the direct link when you hover, but you get an indirect link like the one above when you click or copy-paste.
  • 3
    Didn't realise this doesn't happen in Opera Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 3:17
  • 7
    @Barfieldmv it's like you don't care about the other, valid reasons to turn it off.
    – kojiro
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 14:58
  • 1
    I didn't see any reason posted why google uses this redirection. (my tone might be a bit off though since I'm a non native english speaker) I was trying to add an argument to keep it turned on.
    – Barfieldmv
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 15:07
  • 4
    What they need to do is detect which mouse button triggered the mousedown event and only change the link to the redirect if event.button !== 2 (2 is right click). Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 17:08
  • 3
    My search experience has dramatically improved the moment I turned javascript off on google.com. No indirections, no useless previews, no ugly buttons popping all over the place on hover. Instead, a fast, clean, minimalist interface we were all used to five years back. Google really does terrible UX.
    – akula1001
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 7:33

12 Answers 12


Author's note (July 2016): The answer below was written in 2011, and still works in Google Search. I have since published new extensions that use a different method to remove the search result indirection and they work on even more Google sites as well as on mobile.

TL;DR: Don't track me Google is an extension I made that allows you to copy normal URLs, while hiding the referrer to the sites you're visiting.


  • "Don't track me Google" from the Internet Archive of Userscripts.org. (works in Google search only and is no longer updated).


I have written a method that replaces the link-modifying rwt function with a bogus function that can't be touched by Google.

By preventing Google from overwriting the rwt function, the link can no longer be modified. This method depends on the Object.defineProperty method (Firefox 4+ and Chrome 5+). The fallback requires Firefox 2+ and Chrome 1+.

Firefox 2+

If you only want to remove the link-modifying behaviour, and don't mind showing your search queries through the referrer, this GreaseMonkey script can be used:
(very non-strict @include rules using wildcards and the Magic TLD)

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Don't track me Google
// @namespace      Rob W
// @include        http://*.google.tld/*
// @include        https://*.google.tld/*
// @version        1.2
// @grant          none
// ==/UserScript==

"use strict";
if (Object.defineProperty) {
   Object.defineProperty(unsafeWindow,"rwt", {value: function(){return !0;}, writable: false });
} else {
   unsafeWindow.__defineGetter__('rwt',function(){return function(){return !0}});

Google Chrome does not support Magic TLDs, so the closest you can get is *://*.google.com/* (repeat the rule, replace .com with other supported Google TLDs).

In Chrome, scripts have to be injected in the form of a <script> tag, because Content scripts are executed in an "isolated world".

Chrome & Firefox 2+ - Link to source code

On January 21st, 2012, I published an extended version, which includes a referrer-hiding method, so that others cannot see your search query. This greatly improves your privacy.

2016 Update: Referrer hiding is no longer needed in modern browsers because of the referrer policy, which only shows the domain in the Referer header)

  • This didn't work for me, is it still working for others? I was able to get the following script working: document.addEventListener('DOMNodeInserted', function () { /* loop over all links and remove the onmousedown attribute */ }, false);
    – tehDorf
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 1:20
  • @tehDorf It still works for me. I've edited my answer to update the links, and added @grant none to make sure that the user script runs in the page's context.
    – Rob W
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 21:26
  • As of 2016, Gmail rewrites links too. Please could you add support to your extension? Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 16:43
  • @ColonelPanic Sorry for the delay, I have published a new version (also for Firefox) and updated the answer. It is also on Github.
    – Rob W
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 8:22

See if the userscript found here for Google search works for you. I have been using it for a while now, and it's been working more often than not for me. enter image description here

Edit: Here is an addon for Firefox: Google search link fix

  • 1
    The twitter one is working beautifully for me. Neither Facebook nor Google seem to work though... Using the latest version of Chrome. Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 15:01
  • This will always disable the rewriting, which means that sensitive information will not be removed from the referrer (see e.g. facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/…). Is there a way to copy the original URL to the clipboard when needed, but still rewrite it when the link is followed normally?
    – mark4o
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 2:54
  • 1
    This no longer works in Chrome with the new policy of blocking non-store extensions/scripts. Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 4:29

Appears the rwt function is invoked upon onmousedown, and thereby rewriting the href. If we could override this behaviour, then we should be set.

In firefox I inserted the following JavaScript into a bookmarklet which can then be executed anytime I wish to prevent the (slighly annoying) link-rewriting on a given Google SERP:

javascript:function rwt(a,f,g,l,m,h,c,n,i){return a};

Edit: Great to see that the userscript @Rob has created and included in his reply takes advantage of this snippet, highly recommended!

  • 3
    As an aside, you can knock out all of the parameters for rwt except a in this case, because JavaScript doesn't care if the arguments to a function match the parameters or not.
    – Reid
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 3:41
  • good point. and FWIW, I suspect javascript:function rwt(){0}; might produce a similar result, even without the 0 -- perhaps worthy of asking over at codereview.stackexchange.com since this is both untested and slightly offtopic.
    – wehal3001
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 10:07

I use the Firefox Redirect Remover add-on.

After this is installed, right click on a redirected URL in the browser gives an option to copy cleaned URL.


Solutions without any browser extension or JavaScript

If you want to keep Google's redirection and only selectively copy & paste some URLs here are other possibilities which do not require any change in the browser. Unfortunately while the solutions work in Firefox they do not seem to work in Chrome and Internet Explorer any more.

Solution with keyboard (tested in Linux and Windows):
Navigate to the desired search result link:

  • in Firefox: use Tab and Shift+Tab to navigate between links;
  • in Chrome: press Tab to move the focus into the page, then Up and Down to navigate between search results. (“Copy Link Address” not available if you reach the search result with Tab.)

Then press the context menu key or Shift+F10 and select “Copy Link Location” / “Copy Link Address” (hot key: A in English Firefox, E in English Chrome).

Making the keyboard navigation faster using a mouse:
For faster navigation in Firefox using the mouse, you can click a white-space or an non-link text before the link and then press Tab. You can also switch to the caret navigation using F7 and use cursor keys or Tab.

Solution with mouse only:
In some browsers and environments (e.g. Firefox on Windows) it is possible to press the right mouse button outside of the link, move the mouse cursor while keeping the button still pressed and then release the button on the link to invoke the context menu.

The described ways avoid clicking the mouse on the link and invoking the onmousedown event which causes the conversion of the original URL. Note that if you already clicked the link, you must reload the search results page (F5) to get the original URL back.

  • There is no F10 on a Mac keyboard. Any Mac instructions? Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 15:37
  • @SamtheBrand: Please do not write that something works only in Windows when it does not work in Mac. Are they the only operating systems? I am happily using this solution on Linux. --- As the answer explains the aim of the solution is to open the context menu on the link using a keyboard. I have no experience with Macs but as I understand it they are very limited when it comes to control without a mouse. Maybe you as a Mac user can find a solution easier. It seems that Mac+Space is possible in Firefox: bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=81727 Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 18:54
  • @SamtheBrand: Also here: blogs.uoregon.edu/developments/2010/10/15/… I guess that another solution will not work as it probably emulates a mouse button press: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Context_menu#Implementation Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 18:56
  • Apologies, you're correct that it's not "only Windows." Any chance you can edit your (great) answer to include the info you've expressed in comments here? This question and your answer and others here will soon be syndicated at Lifehacker. It would be great if we can get your edits to the editors in time! Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 19:07
  • @SamtheBrand: I will edit the answer but could you please confirm if Mac**+**Space works in Firefox on Mac and possibly try other possibilities / in other browsers (the one I linked from Wikipedia)? By the way which Mac keyboard is missing F10? I have found pictures of many layouts and all had F10 but anyway I am almost sure that Shift**+**F10 does not show context menu on Mac. Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 7:01

For short URLs, you can just copy the green text under the title as that's the same URL just without protocol lead.

For long URLs (those that have ellipsis in the green text), you either need a script or use a semi-complex workaround.

A script is necessary because Google modifies links with its own script on mouse click. If you hover over a results link, you'll notice in the status bar that it displays properly but it changes upon your interaction with it.

The workaround consists of opening Developer Tools in Chrome or FireBug in Firefox, selecting the link with element inspector, and copying the content of href attribute. This requires 2 windows to be open, so it's not the most convenient workflow on smaller screens.

You could've done it with View source but Google Instant sometimes results in strange source. Also, in order to find the link in the source you must remember its title as there's no visual selector as in Developer Tools & FireBug.

  • 1
    That's an annoyingly twisty workaround, more complicated than doing the search in w3m. Is there a way to disable the redirection once and for all through a user script? Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 2:46
  • 1
    I just tried the only 2 scripts on www.userscripts.org that claim to do just that (the most recent one is dated Feb 2011). Neither of them works in Chrome or Firefox/Greasemonkey.
    – dnbrv
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 3:14

Extensions for Chrome and Firefox:


Using Safari, it is easy to make your own extension to handle this. I used Develop > Show Extension Builder and added "www.google.com" as an Allowed Domain and then the following script as an End Script in the Injected Extension Content section:

if (window.top === window) {
    var els = document.getElementsByClassName("l");
    for (var i in els) {
        els[i].onmousedown = undefined;
  • 1
    That sounds like a useful approach, but the extension builder seems to have been revamped since your answer. I can't get this to work. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 10:41

I am also often annoyed by this. So my simple solution is to use the mobile version of Google's site:

http://www.google.com/m (This link does not work in IE.)

These sites will give you the URLs that go directly to the target sites, no more redirection.

Please note that the search results from these sites will be a little different from the normal ones ( by using google.com ).


Just paste this in your URL bar and press enter:


I have the same problem.

There's an online tool that I find useful here:

Online Tool - Convert google link to direct link for easier copying and pasting

Just bookmark that page and then paste 'horrific URLs' into the form to convert them into a normal links.


For shorter links, selecting the green text is fine. For longer links with an ellipsis, I tend to just open the link and grab the URL from the address/awesome/omnibar.

  • 14
    yes, but clicking through the link and loading the entire website just so we can copy the darn URL is slow and .. unwieldy. Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 10:34
  • 8
    This does not work if the linked document is one that the browser opens in another application (e.g. PDF). Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 12:23
  • 2
    @Complicatedseebio or if the site redirects immediately (and you want to, for example, search for it in the internet archives!) Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 4:30

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