3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser’s Default

Ads by Google

No matter which browser you are using, your default search engine is likely to be Google. I am not going to persuade you to change it to something else because that advice would be useless to many: we still use Google, no matter what.

This post is about modifying your browser’s default engine slightly – these modifications are likely to improve your searching experience a lot.

But first, let’s very briefly look at how we can create a new search and set it as default in our favorite browser.

How to Create a New Search Engine

FireFox (address/URL field)

  • Open about:config
  • Filter for keyword.url
  • Double click on this entry to open a dialog;
  • Edit the “˜keyword.url’ string

Placeholder for your search term: blank

Ads by Google

FireFox search box

  • Go to mycroft.mozdev.org and use the form (you can also use “Show full instructions option?” to see the tips) to create a search plugin for your search box;
  • When ready, test the plugin, generate the code and submit it to the database.

Placeholder for your search term: {searchTerms}

Google Chrome

  • Navigate: Settings (icon) -> Options and click “Manage” next to your “Default search engine
  • Click “Add” button and there provide the details:
    the name, keyword and query string of your new search engine.

Placeholder for your search term: %s


  • Press CTRL+F12 to open the Preferences panel and click on the Search tab.
  • Click “Add” button and provide the new search engine name, keyword, URL and query string.

Placeholder for your search term: %s

Internet Explorer

  • In the search bar, click the arrow next to the search icon and select “Search for other search engines” and there click “Create my own search provider”
  • Provide the name and query string of your search provider.

Placeholder for your search term: TEST

Now that we know how to create a new search engine, let’s see which options we actually have.

Google “Browse by Name” Search

Google “Browse by Name” search functionality is something in between “I am feeling lucky” and regular Google search. With “I am feeling lucky” button you will always land on the actual page ranked top for your search term (by-passing Google results page). With regular search, you always land on Google results page.

With “Browse by Name”

  • For generic search terms, you land on Google search results page;
  • For “navigational” terms (where the top result is pretty much obvious), you land on the top result page.





Note: This search will also bypass the search results page for all terms where a Wikipedia article is ranked #1. Try:

  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=war
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=dickens
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=shakespeare

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=TEST

Note: The search can be a huge time-saver but surely not for everyone. People who specialize in search (like myself) can’t use it because for them, the search results page is the most important destination.

Google Vanilla Search

Google vanilla is our old good Google we all miss so much: no “universal search” results (images, videos, etc within general Google search results page), no sidebar search options, no ads on top of organic search results, etc. Everything is crystal clean and clear:

vanilla google

Google search query to add this search engine in your browser:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/custom?q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/custom?q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/custom?q=TEST

Google De-Personalized Search

Like I have already mentioned, Google personalizes search results to try to show you the results that you are likely to appreciate. You are free to disable this behavior and you have various ways to de-personalize your Google search results – one of which is by creating a new default search engine in your browser.

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=TEST

Are there any cool Google modifications you are aware of? Let’s have some Google fun!

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Awesome Internet (and Tips)
Awesome Internet (and Tips)
1394 Members
Web Security & Privacy
Web Security & Privacy
498 Members
Affiliate Disclamer

This article may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
New comment

Please login to avoid entering captcha

Log In