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Interesting Firefox Hack – Identify your browser as a Googlebot Spider

Interesting Firefox Hack

This hack will allow you to identify your browser as a Googlebot ‘spider’.

Why would you want to do that?

Many newspaper and magazine sites that would normally hassle you for a user name and password will let you slide on in if they think you are one of Google’s spiders out gathering data.

OTOH, it can make some web pages look weird or not work the way they should. But you can always change the user agent back to Mozilla or whatever suits you.

  1. Install the Firefox user agent switcher
  2. In Firefox, Tools->User Agent Switcher->Options, add Googlebot as a user agent:
    • Description: Googlebot
    • User Agent: Googlebot/2.1 (
    • The remaining 5 lines can be left blank.
  3. Then switch to this user agent with Tools/User Agent Switcher.

So far I’ve been able to visit the LA Times and my local fishwrap, both of which demand you set up a user name and pass to view.

Alternative is to go to BugMeNot and look up a password, but the user agent hack is a lot quicker and cleaner.

Published in Computing Web


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