So I was browsing and just typed "Ubuntu" over my top bar. The Google URL mentions: client=ubuntu

I deleted cookies, even disabled the Ubuntu plug-in in Firefox (presuming this was the problem) but there was no change. If you remove the client=ubuntu from the URL, you can still see the results you want, so why is there such a thing?

I'm pretty sure i have never encountered such a thing in other Linux distros. I think this is a major privacy flaw (if not used intentionally). Is Google collecting data over Ubuntu, or Ubuntu just gives data to Google?


1 Answer 1


It's not a (significant) privacy flaw. The browser sends a User-Agent string with each request anyway. For example, Firefox running on Ubuntu sends the following string with each request:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:50.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/50.0

All the web sites that you visit using Firefox on Ubuntu know that you are running Ubuntu (or a derivative such as Linux Mint).

  • Yes but if someone opens wireshark, then he can easily read the search string without even bothering to look the headers . Why other linux distros block it and Ubuntu lets it?
    – november
    Nov 29, 2016 at 16:37
  • Google is accessed over HTTPS. One cannot intercept the search string using Wireshark or other such tools. All one can see is that the computer made a TCP connection to google.com on port 443.
    – AlexP
    Nov 29, 2016 at 16:58

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