Backslash URLs in Firefox

By mistake, I typed “http://\\w”. Surprise! It actually goes to the White House! Here are more results:

  • “http://\\a” goes to http://www.lemonde.fr/
  • “http://\\b” goes to http://www.b-rail.be/main/F/index.php
  • “http://\\c” goes to http://www.caducee.net/
  • “http://\\d” goes to http://www.meteofrance.com/FR/index.jsp
  • “http://\\w” goes to http://www.whitehouse.gov/
  • “http://\\x” goes to http://www.polytechnique.fr/
  • “http://\\z” goes to http://www.ztele.com/

At first, I was a bit puzzled that so many results were in French. Of course, what is happening is that Firefox sends the query to Google and redirects you to the first URL in the Google result page. It doesn’t redirect you to it verbatim though. Try typing “\\w*(?=bla)” both in Google and in the Firefox URL box and you’ll see that the result differs.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the Université du Québec (TELUQ).

3 thoughts on “Backslash URLs in Firefox”

  1. Have you tried to input a word in the Firefox? It’s like “I’m feeling lucky” of Google, go to the first searched page directly. I found that last week, maybe that’s the new function of FF1.5?

  2. Mozilla gets paid everytime they redirect you through google. They also get paid everytime you use the google search bar on the top-right corner.

  3. It might be because the url bar might not use cookies and country redirection (a webservice maybe?) contrary to the google webpage. uk and us google don’t give the same results most of the time.

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