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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40 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Kim

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

Reply

marek

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)

Reply

Rich

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

Reply

Rich

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

Reply

Anonymous

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.

Reply

drummzer

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.

Reply

FekketCantenel

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.

Reply

FekketCantenel

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.

Reply

Nat Jay

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.

Reply

Nat Jay

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.

Reply

Mark O’Neill

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

I like it as well! :-)

David Rogers

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

David Rogers

That is, for us Chrome users :)

Reply

venkat

Secret Google URL does help.

Reply

me

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

Reply

me

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

Reply

Jon

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

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JK III

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)?

Reply

JK III

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)?

Reply

Bhaskar

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

JK III

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!

Reply

Simon Rodriguez

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.

Reply

Simon Rodriguez

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.

Reply

CZA The CEO

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

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jameswatt

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

Reply

JK III

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!

Reply

Chris

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

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

Aibek

Reply

Aibek

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

Aibek

Reply

Web dizajneri

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

Reply

Web dizajneri

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

Reply

julioestrad1947

ok julio

Reply

jessy

Why ditch it ,it is useful for me. LOL

Reply

ken

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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

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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

Reply

ranga

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

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

Reply

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.

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