How To Change Your Default Search Engine In Chrome
Chrome is a great browser but Google’s data collection practices and other general concerns – well -established or not – may cause some to want to change the browser’s default search engine. Unfortunately, just because you use the company’s browser doesn’t mean you have to use its search. And that’s true not just with the use of Google.com, in general. But also in terms of which browser is used when you type a search into the Omnibox URL.
None of that is to say that the process is intuitive. Although it is easy enough to do. But that’s what this guide is ultimately here to discuss. So let’s dive into how you can go about making a change to your default search engine in Google Chrome.
Why would you want to change the default search engine in Google Chrome?
Of course, there are many reasons why a user would want to keep Google Chrome but change the default search engine.
Chrome, after all, is widely considered the best browser. At least, when it comes to balancing features, safety settings, account sync, and other features with speed. Those factors range from personal preference to legitimate concerns about how or whether Google saves data from those searches. More specifically, if that data is stored in a way that conclusively associates it with the user.
Whether change is really necessary is open to debate. Privacy is, after all, a serious matter for users in the modern online landscape. Google has worked hard to convince users that they are, in fact, safe users of Chrome and Google Search. But not everyone is easily convinced. And, in some cases, the concerns can be captured on some scale.
Regardless, users can simply switch to using one of the many top rated browsers available on almost any platform. But sticking to Chrome is often the most convenient option. Unfortunately, changing the default search engine is also an incredibly easy option if you know where to look.
Here’s how to change the default search engine in desktop Chrome
As mentioned above, it’s easy to change your default search engine away from Google. With more anonymous options like DuckDuckGo or simply something else, like Bing, is straightforward. But the steps will vary based on the search engine you choose and which platform you use.
For example, changing the default search engine to mobile or tablet, rather than desktop, takes slightly different steps that users can land on. There are also some tricky segments in the process if you’re trying to change to a search engine that isn’t included in Chrome.
- Starting to make a change to your default Chrome search engine starts with opening Google Chrome
- Navigate to the Settings page by clicking or tapping the three-dot overflow menu in the upper-right corner of the UI and scroll down to “Settings.” Tap or click that menu option
- On the Settings page, navigate to the Search Engine segment by tapping or clicking “Search Engine” in the left pane. Conversely, the segment can also be found by scrolling down to the Settings page
- In the Search Engine segment, the first option Google provides is a drop-down menu to select the search engine you want to use when you type a search into the Omnibox URL. Tap or click the drop-down menu and select the search engine you want to use. At this writing, Google offers its own search, Ecosia, Yahoo !, Bing, or DuckDuckGo
Selecting the desired search engine will automatically save the change. You can now type a search into the Omnibox URL in Chrome and results from the selected search engine will appear. However, not all search engines are included in the Google listing by default. But if you want to switch to another search engine, you can do that too.
- Tap or click on the “Manage search engines” card under the “Search Engines” segment of the Chrome Settings menu. The resulting page is divided into three sections. One for setting a keypress for searching within specific sites with a brief explanation and two sections for default and user -selected search engines
- Scroll to “Other search engines” and select the “Add” button
- Chrome will show the user three fields that must be filled in correctly to access the search engine from the Chrome Omnibox
- First is the “Search engine” field. Google expects users to enter a label for their search engine in this field. So, for example, you can enter “Ask” if you plan to use Ask.com as your default search engine
- The second field is “Keyword” and gives users an easy way to access the search engine from the URL Omnibox. Using the Ask.com example above, users can set the Keyword to “Ask.” The term is user defined. So any keyword that will be easy for you to remember should be used. If “Ask” is used, users can simply type “Ask” into the Omnibox and then press the spacebar to let Chrome know that the search should use Ask.com
- The final field is labeled “URL with% s in place of query” and is the most complex field to fill. Users need to start by navigating to the desired search engine in a new tab. As mentioned above, we use Ask.com in our example. So, in this case, we navigated to Ask.com
- Perform a search on the desired search engine. We searched for “Android Headlines”
- The URL that needs to be copied is the results page. So, in this case, it’s “http://www.ask.com/web?q=android+headlines” followed by a long string of other reference code. Copy the first segment of code, up to the point of the query. That’s the piece of code that indicates a query is being executed. For Google, the keyword “search” is in the URL. But it is almost always near the beginning of the URL and always includes a corresponding symbol. In the case of Ask.com, for example, the pasted URL should be “http://www.ask.com/web?q=”
- Paste the copied URL into the “URL with% s as the query area” field and type the term “% s” at the end.
- Click or tap the “Add” button
- Tap or click the three-dot menu next to the new entry under “Other search engines”
- Tap or click “Make default” to finalize your selection
You can also change it on mobile
Now, you can also change which is your default search engine for Chrome on mobile as well. Although, not to the same extent or to the same depth that you can for desktop Chrome. For starters only, Chrome does not allow you to set up your own mobile search engine as it does in the example above. Instead, Google only offers a few defaults that are set up as options.
With that said, there are still some great options available to users on that front. And it doesn’t just include anonymous machines like DuckDuck Go. Incredibly easy to change.
- Like the desktop example above, start by opening a new instance of Google Chrome and navigating to a new tab.
- Tap the three-dot overflow menu on the top right of the UI
- Tap on the “Settings” option placed just above the bottom of that menu
- Near the top of the resulting Settings menu, the “Basics” header should place an option labeled “Search engine”
- Tap on Search engine
- Tap to select the search engine you want to use instead of Google. The current options are Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia
- Press the arrow on the back. Chrome will automatically switch to the most recently tapped option, so it should automatically save the selected option