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How to open search results in new tabs in Firefox or Chrome

You'd think setting up Firefox or Chrome to open search queries in a new tab would be a simple settings tweak. You'd be wrong.

If you use the Google search box in Firefox or the address bar in Chrome, which doubles as a Google search box, for Web searches, you will notice that the results page opens in the tab you are currently viewing. If you are conducting some extensive online research, you might find it easier to keep track of your search results if each time you searched the results opened in a new tab. For Firefox, you will need to get into the inner working of your browser, while Chrome requires an extension.

For Firefox, open the browser and type about:config in the address bar and hit enter.

Next, click the button promising to be careful when greeted by the warning message.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

On the next page, find the line On the right most column titled Value, you will see "false" listed. Double click it to turn it to "true."

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Now, when you search for a term using the Google search bar in Firefox, your search results will open in a new tab.

For Chrome, you will need to install the Chrome Toolbox extension. And unfortunately for Mac users, this extension is severely limited and doesn't include the setting that allows you to open search queries made in Chrome's address bar in a new tab. PC users, keep reading.

After the extension installs, you will see that a small button (complete with a flaming gear icon) gets added to the right of the address bar. Click on the button and choose Options.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

On the General tab of the Options window, find the last item listed under the Tab header. Check the box for "When pressing enter in address bar with a URL in it, open the URL in a new tab."

Now, a URL -- or any word -- typed into Chrome's address bar will open in a new tab.