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copy links from googleStop getting a garbled mess every time you try to copy a link from Google search results. Install one simple plugin or userscript and solve this problem entirely.

Google’s search page is a collection of links. Try to copy those links, however, and you end up with a series of seemingly random letter and numbers. Google uses these far-longer-than-necessary URLs to help track who is clicking which searches, which in turn helps make search results better, but they can be downright annoying when you need to copy and paste a link from Google for a friend. They’re ugly:

That’s just a link to MakeUseOf, believe it or not.

Some people dislike this because they don’t want to be tracked – it’s a point that’s worth discussing, but I won’t get into it now. I’m simply annoyed with these URLs. Here’s why.

The Scenario

You’re looking for a particular article or website to share with a friend; maybe the single least useful thing Justin Pot has written Add Nyan Cat To Your Progress Bars, Because It's Awesome Add Nyan Cat To Your Progress Bars, Because It's Awesome Is your Windows progress bar stupid, green and boring? Make it 5011% more awesome: add the infamous Nyan cat to it, complete with the trademark music and rainbow. It's just a simple download away. There... Read More . You type relevant search terms – Nyan Cat progress bar Justin Pot – and hit enter. (You realize, of course, that you don’t need to hit “enter” because of Google autofill, but you’re a longtime Google user and a stickler for tradition, so you hit enter anyway. You’re awesome like that and we all notice.)

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Anyway, you’re ready to copy the result of your search when you notice, at the bottom of your browser, the garbled mess of a URL Google has turned this into.

copy links from google

Your entire body instantly fills with rage. Sure, you could copy that link – it will still work – but it’s ugly. And sure, you could simply click the link, wait for the page to load and copy the URL from the address bar as soon as you can.

But you don’t have time for that nonsense. Not now. You’re in a hurry.

Calm down. It hasn’t always been like this. It doesn’t need to be like this.

Let’s fix this.

The Solution

Are you a Firefox user? Good. All you need to do to solve this problem is install the Google/Yandex search link fix and you’re good to go. Easy.

Are you a Google Chrome user, or a Firefox user who prefers Greasemonkey scripts to extensions? Don’t track me Google is a script for exactly this purpose.

Installing on Firefox with Greasemonkey is simple: just click “Install” and you’re good to go.

Chrome users will need to do some extra work, because Google recently changed the way extensions and scripts not offered in the Chrome Web Store can be installed. You’re going to need to click the “Install” button on the script’s page; doing so will download the script. Open the “Extensions” page in Chrome’s settings, then browse to the downloaded script in your file browser. Drag the script to the Extensions page and you’ll see a dialogue that looks like this:

copy google links

You’ve now installed the plugin. This used to be easy, and I’m annoyed, but let’s save that for another article.

The Result

Still with me? Great. Let’s type that same search again and see how our URL looks:

copy links from google

Fan-friggin-tastic! Copy that URL, secure in the knowledge that all URLs you copy from Google will now be garbage-free. Good job.

The Conclusion

It occurs to me this might be the sort of problem only bloggers have: we spend a lot of our time copying links from Google so we can use them in articles.

I tend to write about tools I myself find useful, but I’m curious: does anyone else find this useful? Let me know what you used it for in the comments below. Thanks!

  1. John Prokos
    January 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    You can install these scripts on Safari using a Safari extension called Ninjakit.

    • Justin Pot
      January 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Great tip.

  2. Mr.Gurgle
    November 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks but it doesn't seem to work with chrome anymore. Oh well I found another way using chrome, just click on click Ctrl+Shift+I then you'll see a magnification glass-icon in the bottom toolbar, click that, then left-click on the link you'd like to open or copy paste.
    Now you can see the HTML-code for the link, and it should look like this: <a href="; ....

    Left-click on that link to open the page directly without going through google or right click and copy paste it.

  3. Brian
    October 26, 2012 at 6:26 am

    When I need to share an URL, I just use Bing. I can't be bothered with this on Chrome.

  4. roland
    October 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I don't get this solution going for chrome, google refuses me to do the installl:

    "Adding extensions from other websites
    We're constantly looking out for ways to make your browsing safer. To that end, we recently changed the way you add extensions that are not in the Chrome Web Store to your browser. Previously, any website could prompt you to add an extension into your browser. In the latest version of Google Chrome, you must explicitly tell Chrome that you want to install these extensions by adding them through the Extensions page.

    Why the change?

    To help keep you safe on the web, we have started analyzing every extension that is uploaded to the Web Store and take down those we recognize to be malicious. Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to take down malicious items promoted on other websites. For instance, online hackers may create websites that automatically trigger the installation of malicious extensions. Their extensions are often designed to secretly track the information you enter on the web, which the hackers can then reuse for other ill-intended purposes.

    The updated installation process prevents websites from automatically triggering unauthorized extension installations and gives you more control over the extensions you're adding to Chrome."

    • Justin Pot
      October 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      There are instructions above for getting around this, and they work. Read the installation section again! :)

      • roland
        October 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm

        The point is I don't see the script appearing on the extensions page...

        • Justin Pot
          October 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

          Did you download the file and drag it to the open extensions page? Because I just tested this on the most recent stable version of Chrome and that still works.

        • roland
          October 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

          Sorry, missed the draggin part... Works!

  5. David Wosnitza (@_druu)
    October 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I maybe a bit late for this, but if you're not a fan of Installing extensions, here's a little bookmarklet that does the same trick.


  6. Jym
    September 1, 2012 at 6:03 am

    =v= I increasingly use for searches, to avoid this stuff (and other misfeatures). I daresay that helps Google's search results even less. I'll install this for the times I do use Google.

  7. Emmanuel Olalere
    August 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Nice tip, shared!

  8. Edgar Meixueiro
    August 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I don't want to use more extensions, but some are necessary.

  9. Dan Nieman
    August 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Excellent post. I am a librarian and I put together link lists and recommendations. This is something to try. Thanks!

  10. susendeep dutta
    August 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    This extension (Google/Yandex search link fix) interferes with the login of Google in any MUO page i.e. doesn't allows to connect via Google.So,I'd to uninstall it and using the script-Don’t track me Google.

    This article has helped me save some bandwidth cost and now I can copy links of some YouTube videos without opening them.

  11. Noman Fayez
    August 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

    what about IE and opera?

    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Can't find anything specifically for them; sorry. You can try the "zap redirects" bookmarklet above – simply create a new bookmark and use the code as your "address". Click it and the junk will be removed (though you will need to use it each time you intend to copy a link).

    • Pax
      August 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Opera has two different add-ons for these named: "No Google Search Redirect"
      and "Remove Google Redirects" over at their main add-ons site.

      Don't know about IE.

    • Pax
      August 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I came here to see if you would mention the 'Google/Yandex search link' extension and was presented with an entertaining and funny article!

  12. Ashwin Ramesh
    August 23, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Cool! Thanks for sharing!

  13. James Graham
    August 23, 2012 at 2:45 am

    What about us poor saps that are stuck using IE at work? I hate clicking the back button because it keeps getting caught on these stupid links.

    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      You could try a portable version of Chrome or Firefox:

      Or you could use the code above to make a bookmarklet. You'll need to click it everytime but it works.

  14. Sebastian Hadinata
    August 23, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Awesome tips! This will surely come in handy when I wanted to share a google link to a friend, I don't need to open the website first to copy the real link and it look neats this way.

  15. Oliver Clevont
    August 23, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Try the BreakItDown Firefox extension to shorten URLS:

  16. memo1288
    August 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    This will be useful when copying links for pdf files. Usually these files have long URLs that get truncated in the search results page, and clicking the link downloads the fiile without showing the address, even when you open them in a new tab (it only shows that long Google URL).
    I will give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

      No problem! Let me know how it works for you, okay?

    August 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I normally just click through and copy the URL from the address bar. But now there is an alternative. Thanks.

  18. Kashif Maqsood
    August 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    What about Opera Browser? How to do it in opera?

    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

      I haven't found a way to do this in Opera. Let me know if you do, okay?

    • Pax
      August 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Opera has two different add-ons for these named:

      "No Google Search Redirect"
      "Remove Google Redirects"

  19. mike
    August 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Great add-on. I send URL's from Google searches to friends (and to myself - at home). A clean URL shows where it's actually going to and reduces the thought that it's really some spammer's hidden agenda.

  20. Ram
    August 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    A Javascriptlet bookmarklet "Zap Redirects" does this effectively:


    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 12:20 am

      I'll have to try this out. thanks!

  21. Abhilash Bingi
    August 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Or if you still want to enjoy personalized search results offered by Google (If that's your thing) you can you a url shortener, which will have much smaller links you can create from a right click to store or share.
    Something like for chrome or for firefox

  22. memo1288
    August 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    This will be very helpful when trying to copy a link to a pdf file. These links usually are too long and get truncated in the search results page, and clicking one of them downloads the file but doesn't show the address, even when opening in a new tab (it only shows that long Google address).
    I will give it a try. Thanks for the info!

  23. GrrGrrr
    August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    WOW, now I could just get the link and save it for future use.

    Never understood before why these search links are so

    • Justin Pot
      August 23, 2012 at 12:20 am

      They're ugly so Google can track who is clicking what. It's how they improve their search results over time. This kind of breaks that, so only use if it's important to you.

      • Sebastian Hadinata
        August 23, 2012 at 1:57 am

        I never know that ugly link is used to track what user's click. Well, now I know :D

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