4 Ways To Ditch The New Google Search Sidebar

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google-iconFor over a decade Google featured the same, clean user interface. This clean user interface was no small part of Google becoming the commercial and cultural juggernaut that it is today.

Now they have changed it.

Last week I heard various people exclaim, out loud, “What did they do to my Google?” The sentence not only shows how personally people feel their connection to Google is, but also how disappointed they were with the change.

However they feel, they can’t change the fact that Google’s formally clean search results now includes a sidebar that makes my netbook feel quite cluttered indeed. Many people are trying to find out how to remove the Google sidebar.


If you feel this way, you could always check out the top 5 Google alternatives pointed out by Dean, or perhaps the 13 alternative web browsers that find what Google can’t recently found by Kabir.

Myself, I’m a loyal Google user. In 2001 I decided to make Google my homepage and never looked back. I’ve tried the likes of Bing, but find Google’s search results much better. Perhaps I’ll adjust to the sidebar in time, but if you don’t think you can, there are a few ways to avoid the changes.

1. Secret Google URL

It would seem that Google’s own forums aren’t immune to hatred towards the interface change. This conversation includes some terse language about the change, but if you read long enough you’ll find this gem of information from one drchinni:

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http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=all instead of usual link, use the above link. it will avoid theside bar

Full credit to him; he’s how I found out about this. Use this page as your entry point to Google and it will remove the Google sidebar from your browsing.

google-option1

Doesn’t that look better? This, of course, doesn’t help you if you primarily use Google from your browser’s built-in search bar. That’s where extensions come in.

2. Greasemonkey Script

Greasemonkey is the go-to Firefox extension for scripts that make quick changes to sites around the web. Google’s no exception; Ann recently wrote up 9 Greasemonkey scripts for more productive Google search.

There’s also a Greasemonkey script that’ll make the Google sidebar go away: REMOVE Google Sidebar,  brought to you by Vin. Using this extension for less than a second before it’s pleasantly removed from view.

google-greasemonkey

3. Chrome Plugin

Chrome users can try installing the above Greasemonkey script, but if you’re looking for a native plugin look no further than Aaron Landerkin’s Hide Google Options Script. This plugin will work much like you expect it to, removing the sidebar from Google. Sure, it adds an unnecessary button to your toolbar, but I’m sure this will be removed in upcoming releases.

4. IE Custom Search Provider

google-ie

If you’re amongst those who have not yet dumped Internet Explorer for Chrome or Firefox, don’t worry: there’s a workaround for you too. If Google’s your homepage you can always switch to the URL above, of course, but you may also want a search provider built into your toolbar for using the clean Google.

No problem, just head over to Microsoft’s own custom search provider tool and create a new toolbar. Just be sure to use

http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=all#hl=all&q=TEST&fp=bea18bc4e12a5518

as your URL.

Much thanks to Koderic, who explained this process in the previously referred to Google conversation.

Conclusion

Sometimes companies make interface choices end-users find annoying. I’m glad the web provides so  many options for us to switch things back – no other medium in human history is this customizable.

What do you guys know that I don’t? Is there an amazing method to remove the Google sidebar that I’m missing? Or am I just really, really stubborn for wanting to hold on to my old-fashioned search page? Commenting will make all your friends think you’re cool, so you’d better do that.

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Comments (40)
  • Norb

    I hate the new sidebar, I actually get to this page trying to find online a solution for this since I need to search for different images at the same time to choose the right one, the new side bar displays the images in a different format, I’m talking about the size, and before you click it the image expands itself. It’s just annoying that I can’t look at a big group of images in a small size, that way finding the right one would be an easier process. Also doesn’t help when the wireless connection is slow since it has to show bigger images at the same time and expand them every time.

  • ranga

    This is very helpful. i was excatly looking for something like this.

    http://www.chudai-ki-story.blogspot.com

  • Jase

    The only possible reason for Google NOT offering the option to collapse the sidebar is the hope that they will generate a few more ad-clicks by drawing the user’s eye away from the relevant search results. Pretty low for a company whose mission statement is all about the user experience. http://tinyurl.com/38jjbyr

  • Jase

    The only possible reason for Google NOT offering the option to collapse the sidebar is the hope that they will generate a few more ad-clicks by drawing the user’s eye away from the relevant search results. Pretty low for a company whose mission statement is all about the user experience. http://tinyurl.com/38jjbyr

  • Alexander

    You may want to note that the ?hl thing has now been disabled. For a while I thought I would be able to keep using google. I guess it’s time to start looking for an alternative.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review 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.