I pretty much agree with your post, except I have no experience with Opera.
I do have an annoying redirect virus in firefox. The part that is most annoying is that when I get hits in google instead of just clicking on the hyperlink, I have to copy the hyperlink and paste it in the address, otherwise it redirects - even though I’ve turned on the “ask me to verify redirect”.
It’s gotta be costing Google money since they are not getting credit for a “click through”.
I have just about given up on the Firefox 3.5-3.6 series...liked earlier versions tho. Current 3.x version has massive memory problems (leaks mostly)...hoping it is improved in v.4...I have a few plug-ins so unfortunately I cannot switch to 4 yet. Otherwise it is going to be Chrome for me...just don’t like Chrome’s bookmark layout.
I had the same problem, of google search links taking me to url’s different from what I expected or wanted.
Another Freeper, so_real, described an “Add-on” called “xulrunner” as a likely source of the problem. I found that I had that add-on installed; I disabled it and the Google redirect virus disappeared.
My thanks to you for describing the problem and to fellow freeper so_real for solving an irritating problem.
I can recommend an alternative browser named Wyzo (free at wyzo.com). I often use Firefox and Wyzo concurrently recently, as Firefox 3.6.16 has become such a memory hog and also running slow.
A friend switched over to Firefox 4, and notes that the TabsManager add-on is no longer necessary, as this functionality (which I love) is now a part of FF4.