Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Amazon Assistant Breaks Gmail Links in Firefox - And How to Fix It

Last week Amazon began rolling out a replacement to their Amazon 1Button App browser add-on called Amazon Assistant. Also beginning some time last week, any time I clicked a link inside an email on my Gmail account, Firefox would just open up a blank page instead of navigating to the link I had clicked. Coincidence???

SYMPTOMS

Firefox is my primary browser, and for the past week this frustrating problem eventually afflicted every one of my Windows-based desktops and laptops. Basically, any time I tried to click a link in Gmail:

I'd end up with a blank screen instead of the link I was hoping to see:

THINGS I TRIED

I went through all the ordinary steps in trying to solve the problem, and none of them worked.
  1. I tried clearing Cached Web Content in the Firefox Advanced > Network options.
  2. I tried removing all Google cookies in Firefox's Privacy options.
  3. I tried switching from Auto-detect to No proxy in Firefox's Advanced > Network > Settings options.
None of this made a difference.

THE SOLUTION

I couldn't find any recent information online about this problem, and none of the solutions people had suggested when this sort of thing happened in the past worked for me. And then I stumbled across this unassuming little tweet:

Eureka!

I'm going to try reporting this issue for Amazon, but for the time being, the only way I've found to make Gmail links work again is to disable or remove the Amazon Assistant add-on. Here's how:
  1. Click the hamburger menu in the upper-right of your Firefox browser window, and then click Add-ons.
  2. On the Extensions tab of the Add-ons Manager, select Amazon Assistant for Firefox and then click Disable (or Remove). The add-on's state will change accordingly.
  3.  Close the Add-ons Manager and return to your Gmail account. Locate an email that contains a link you had previously tried to click and see if it works now.
    Aww yiss!
My thanks to Uncanny Kate Kirby on Twitter for helping solve this mystery!

2 comments:

bshar said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I had the same problem and had no idea what was causing it. Followed your instructions and my Gmail is now back to normal again. I've also let Amazon know the problem.

Ezio Abbate said...

Thanks for posting. Was searching around for a solution and almost gave up hope for a solution before running into this post.

Bad show Amazon. I never was using the app (think I installed it years ago as they were giving some free promo credit, and was just too lazy to uninstall it) but now that it's causing this problem, definitely getting it out of Firefox.