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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 The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them The Top 5 Google Alternatives and Why You Should Use Them Read More pointed out by Dean, or perhaps the 13 alternative web browsers that find what Google can’t 13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can't 13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can't Read More 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 10 Sites to Compare Google vs Bing Results Side By Side 10 Sites to Compare Google vs Bing Results Side By Side Read More , 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.

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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:

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.

  1. Norb
    August 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    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.

  2. ranga
    June 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm

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

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

  3. Jase
    May 28, 2010 at 1:27 am

    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

  4. Jase
    May 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    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

  5. Alexander
    May 22, 2010 at 7:59 am

    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.

  6. ken
    May 19, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I am so relieved to finally rid of that side bar the http://www.google.com/webhp?hl...
    stopped it immediately. I have been googling for months rying to find help

  7. jessy
    May 18, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Why ditch it ,it is useful for me. LOL

  8. julioestrad1947
    May 17, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    ok julio

  9. Web dizajneri
    May 16, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    This is the best solution:
    http://userscripts.org/scripts...

  10. Web dizajneri
    May 16, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    This is the best solution:
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/76890

  11. Aibek
    May 16, 2010 at 8:49 am

    That's probably because your old cache is still there.

    Aibek

  12. Chris
    May 16, 2010 at 4:04 am

    I use Firefox, but still have IE6 on my machine from it's original install. Hardly use IE6 but when I did yesterday it continued to show the old-style Google home without the new sidebar.

    • Aibek
      May 16, 2010 at 6:49 am

      That's probably because your old cache is still there.

      Aibek

  13. JK III
    May 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    The video search is powered by Truveo instead of google, but I can live with that.

    Honestly, this is one of the the best solutions I've seen. Thanks!

  14. jameswatt
    May 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I am trying to find if I can make use of the sidebar. So I'd rather let it be

  15. CZA The CEO
    May 15, 2010 at 5:11 am

    You might also try Blackle; it's just a cooler Google search without the bar.

  16. Simon Rodriguez
    May 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    If you want to look for more solutions than the 4 displayed here you can visit http://theoldgoogle.blogspot.c... to find a pretty complete list.

  17. Simon Rodriguez
    May 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    If you want to look for more solutions than the 4 displayed here you can visit http://theoldgoogle.blogspot.com/ to find a pretty complete list.

  18. Bhaskar
    May 14, 2010 at 2:15 am

    You can try using AOL search. Its powered by Google anyway and it features the older interface.

    • JK III
      May 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      The video search is powered by Truveo instead of google, but I can live with that.

      Honestly, this is one of the the best solutions I've seen. Thanks!

  19. JK III
    May 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I have made some comments regarding this issue on a few websites, and my question is the same: How do I "completely" turn google into its old self?

    All the solutions that I've come across are only partially effective. I have changed the google logo, I have removed the sidebar, but I haven't managed to remove the bold fonts (which is somehow the most annoying part) and the shiny buttons.

    I have found two solutions that "completely" change google, but they have their own glitches.

    First one is the "secret google url". But it is missing suggestions and spell check.

    The second solution is to use the firefox addon "IE Tab". It will only work if you have IE6 installed, as IE6 still displays the old google design. This solution is perfect, except for that you cannot middle click or ctrl click to open links in new tabs.

    So, my search for the perfect solution continues. I am pretty sure it's achievable through greasemonkey. Now I am waiting for some hero to code the perfect script.

    PS: Know of any other good search engines (other than bing and yahoo)?

  20. JK III
    May 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I have made some comments regarding this issue on a few websites, and my question is the same: How do I "completely" turn google into its old self?

    All the solutions that I've come across are only partially effective. I have changed the google logo, I have removed the sidebar, but I haven't managed to remove the bold fonts (which is somehow the most annoying part) and the shiny buttons.

    I have found two solutions that "completely" change google, but they have their own glitches.

    First one is the "secret google url". But it is missing suggestions and spell check.

    The second solution is to use the firefox addon "IE Tab". It will only work if you have IE6 installed, as IE6 still displays the old google design. This solution is perfect, except for that you cannot middle click or ctrl click to open links in new tabs.

    So, my search for the perfect solution continues. I am pretty sure it's achievable through greasemonkey. Now I am waiting for some hero to code the perfect script.

    PS: Know of any other good search engines (other than bing and yahoo)?

  21. Jon
    May 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I dont like it at all, I am now using iZito instead, which uses Google for searching but has a useful layout.

  22. me
    May 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Google Classic works fairly well, and you can toggle the sidebar on and off. http://userscripts.org/scripts...

  23. me
    May 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Google Classic works fairly well, and you can toggle the sidebar on and off. http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/76161

  24. venkat
    May 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Secret Google URL does help.

  25. Mark O'Neill
    May 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Am I the only one that actually likes the new sidebar? I find it very useful to find more easily what I am looking for.

    • Aibek
      May 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

      I like it as well! :-)

      • David Rogers
        May 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

        Yes, but the button on the toolbar quickly toggles the sidebar on when you need it.

        • David Rogers
          May 29, 2010 at 11:32 pm

          That is, for us Chrome users :)

  26. Nat Jay
    May 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

    The new sidebar is probably Google's way of hinting that there's more to them than just the organic search results.

    Given the fact that people search for stuff in different ways, it is actually useful to get your information from multiple sources and formats. I guess that's what Google is trying to emphasize through its new interface.

  27. Nat Jay
    May 13, 2010 at 7:04 am

    The new sidebar is probably Google's way of hinting that there's more to them than just the organic search results.

    Given the fact that people search for stuff in different ways, it is actually useful to get your information from multiple sources and formats. I guess that's what Google is trying to emphasize through its new interface.

  28. FekketCantenel
    May 13, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Whoo! I hate the bar, since I search using Firefox' address bar and type 'g' for a search and 'img' for an image search (and don't really use any of the other services). I almost never need to click to get to another search; when I do, I click in the top toolbar.

    Installed the Greasemonkey script. My only two beefs are 1) that it includes * (so I manually changed it to work only on Google search pages) and 2) that AutoPager bugs out a teensy bit.

  29. FekketCantenel
    May 13, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Whoo! I hate the bar, since I search using Firefox' address bar and type 'g' for a search and 'img' for an image search (and don't really use any of the other services). I almost never need to click to get to another search; when I do, I click in the top toolbar.

    Installed the Greasemonkey script. My only two beefs are 1) that it includes * (so I manually changed it to work only on Google search pages) and 2) that AutoPager bugs out a teensy bit.

  30. drummzer
    May 13, 2010 at 1:51 am

    i think it would be silly to get rid of it. I used http://www.clusty.com for a while just because of the "category" bar, and im really glad google implemented it. it makes narrowing down your search results a lot less annoying. i dont really want to use boolean operators in a search bar, id rather just click a button.

  31. Anonymous
    May 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    i think it would be silly to get rid of it. I used http://www.clusty.com for a while just because of the "category" bar, and im really glad google implemented it. it makes narrowing down your search results a lot less annoying. i dont really want to use boolean operators in a search bar, id rather just click a button.

  32. Rich
    May 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    For those that use googlepedia I thought I would share my workaround since googles' change recently. First of all I really like the search option of being able to define the search in relation to time, so completely removing the sidebar was not something I wanted to do. Tip #1 works great but googlepedia will not work with that URL. With the change to google search, googlepedia would not display properly (too much blank space on right side) in FF 3.6.3 or wouldn't load at all. I used one userscript which allows the sidebar to be toggled off and on http://userscripts.org/scripts... and one userstyle http://userstyles.org/styles/2... I then had to go into the userstyle and edit (Tools-Addons-User Styles) to read:
    @namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
    @-moz-document domain(google.com)
    {#leftnav {display:important;}
    #center_col {margin-left:0; margin-right:0 !important;}

    It would be nice if someone could put all this together in one userscript or userstyle but this works easily enough. I hope this is useful for anyone using firefox w/googlepedia.pp

  33. Rich
    May 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    For those that use googlepedia I thought I would share my workaround since googles' change recently. First of all I really like the search option of being able to define the search in relation to time, so completely removing the sidebar was not something I wanted to do. Tip #1 works great but googlepedia will not work with that URL. With the change to google search, googlepedia would not display properly (too much blank space on right side) in FF 3.6.3 or wouldn't load at all. I used one userscript which allows the sidebar to be toggled off and on http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/76155 and one userstyle http://userstyles.org/styles/29418. I then had to go into the userstyle and edit (Tools-Addons-User Styles) to read:
    @namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
    @-moz-document domain(google.com)
    {#leftnav {display:important;}
    #center_col {margin-left:0; margin-right:0 !important;}

    It would be nice if someone could put all this together in one userscript or userstyle but this works easily enough. I hope this is useful for anyone using firefox w/googlepedia.pp

  34. marek
    May 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Changed my default home page to #1. Thanks for that because neo-Google's constant interface options and changes over the past year have me a touch annoyed (except for the WonderWheel)

  35. Kim
    May 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    i actually love the new sidebar but i understand the frustrations people have if one uses a netbook or treasures their screen estate.

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