How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

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disable google suggest2   How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google SuggestWhile I do appreciate numerous Google search innovations and I have previously reviewed some great features including uses of Google Suggest and some cool interpretations of Google Instant for YouTube, I do believe people need to have a choice.

Google is well-known for making it hard for people to opt out of some of its new features. Even if there seems to be a way to disable some new options Google introduces, they are not permanent.

This post summarizes some non-official ways to permanently disable Google’s hot new features: Google Instant, Google Instant Preview and (not really a new one) Google Suggest.

1. Disable Google Suggest

disable google suggest 01   How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

Since the introduction of Google Instant, Google has removed the option to disable search suggestions – now it’s a default feature that can’t be turned off. Unless you make some effort.

Here are a few ways to disable Google Suggest (none of them are perfect and all of them naturally disable Google Instant as well).

Change Your Default Browser Home Page

There are still a few Google search landing pages that have Google Suggest disabled:

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  • complete=0 URL parameter disables suggestions. You can use it with your local search as well: http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0 / http://www.google.co.uk/webhp?complete=0 / etc
  • http://www.google.com/m – Google interface for mobile devices;
  • https://encrypted.google.com/ – Google Search that uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) – this interface has no Google Instant feature and still has an option allowing you to disable suggestions:

disable google suggest   How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

FireFox

One of the following methods might work for you:

  • Install AdBlock Plus and block everything from this directory:
    http://www.google.com/extern_js/
  • Install YesScript or NoScript addon and blacklist Google (this will disable Javascript throughout the site for you).
  • Install this Greasemonkey script (Note: you’ll have to modify the script to work for your local Google version. Navigate Tools -> Greasemonkey -> Manage User Scripts, select the script in the list and click “Add” next to “Included Pages” field. There, provide your Google URL, for example http://www.google.com/*)
  • Another possible fix is to modify general.useragent.extra.firefox in about:config for Google not to recognize you as a FireFox user (this is a widely suggested fix). To learn why this might be a bad fix for the problem, check out this forum thread.

Google Chrome

With Google Chrome things are much more complex:

There’s no good way to selectively block Javascript on some sites (you can read this post and this thread for more details). I’ve been browsing around and found this extension called NotScripts that did disable Google Suggest in Google Chrome for me (note: I haven’t used the extension long enough to figure its limitations though but it did work for my main purpose).

If you are aware of other better ways to disable Google Suggest in Google Chrome, please comment!

2. Disable Google Instant

(Without disabling Google Suggest).

disable google instant   How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

I for one don’t really like the feature and prefer to have it mostly disabled. We seem to have a clear-cut way to disable the new feature, however if you try using it, you’ll notice Google Instant reappear regularly (once your browser clears its cookies or you log out and log into Google again).

FireFox

To permanently disable Google Instant, I use this FireFox addon that remembers my Google preferences while I can freely log in and log out (other options of the addon can be disabled). The addon won’t help if you clear the browser cookies though.

All other suggested methods you are likely to stumble across if you search for ways to disable Google Instant, also disable Google Suggest – so to get the (more or less) complete list of them, refer to the above section of this article.

Google Chrome

I wasn’t able to find a way to permanently disable Google Instant while still keeping Google Suggest in Chrome, so you are likely to have to get rid of both the features if you really don’t want to use Google Instant (again, refer to the above section).

Disable Google Instant Preview

disable google preview   How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

AdBlock Plus mentioned above can block Google Instant Preview as well. All you need to do is to add the following filters in the addon preferences:

google.com##.vspi
google.com##.vspib
google.com###vspb

Hat tip to Lifehacker.

This Greasemonkey script also disables the Live Preview but it will keep the magnifying glass (which won’t work though).

Have you had any of the above Google features disabled? Please share your tips and tricks!

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33 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Mel Webads

I really don’t want to use Google Instant but I can’t turn it off now especially I am using Chrome. I guess I just have to make use of it somehow until I found a way to disable it.

Reply

Mel Webads

I really don’t want to use Google Instant but I can’t turn it off now especially I am using Chrome. I guess I just have to make use of it somehow until I found a way to disable it.

Sudarshan Bhat

there is a simple button next to google’s search bar to switch instant on/off.

Ann Smarty

Yes, but that button will hardly disable the feature permanently. You are most likely to see Instant back again and again.

Retrograde62

Yes, there is that button. However, after a period of time, “instant” turns itself back on and you have to turn it off again.

Reply

Chris

Can’t stand instant, I’m going to try and turn it off. Thanks for the tips

Ann Smarty

Hey Chris, if you come up with more ways to turn it off, please share them here!

Reply

carehart

Here’s another reason to turn off Google Instant: it disables the setting to show more than 10 results per page (in Google Search results). For those who long changed that to a higher number, you may have wondered why it “suddenly” changed back to 10 and you couldn’t modify it anymore. The new Instant Search feature is why, so turning it off is the answer. But note that you have to first turn it off, and save that, and THEN you can change the number of results. You can’t do both on the page at once.

I discuss this need to turn off Instant Search as an update to a blog entry I’d done a long time ago on changing the number of results shown, which many miss. See:
http://www.carehart.org/blog/c

Reply

Anonymous

Here’s another reason to turn off Google Instant: it disables the setting to show more than 10 results per page (in Google Search results). For those who long changed that to a higher number, you may have wondered why it “suddenly” changed back to 10 and you couldn’t modify it anymore. The new Instant Search feature is why, so turning it off is the answer. But note that you have to first turn it off, and save that, and THEN you can change the number of results. You can’t do both on the page at once.

I discuss this need to turn off Instant Search as an update to a blog entry I’d done a long time ago on changing the number of results shown, which many miss. See:
http://www.carehart.org/blog/client/index.cfm/2009/3/9/see_more_google_results

Aibek

thanks for heads up on the number of search results. I wonder why it makes a difference too them, why can’t the person keep say 30 results on a page regardless of whether the instant is on or off.

Ann Smarty

Yes, the number of results limit is the main reason why I prefer to keep Instant off

Reply

Mark

Instant is cool! Not turning it off!

Ann Smarty

No need to if you like it! :)

Reply

Dr Robert Dsouza

I use google chrome browser.. I type the queries in the url type bar. Hence I indirectly do not use google instant..

Ann Smarty

Yes, these tips are only needed if you use Google’s interface to search.

Reply

Barry Adams

Hi Ann, good tips but I’m not sure it’s a good idea for SEO and PPC people to disable these default Google functions. I’m a firm believer of analysing the query space that you’re working in, which means you need to see what the average user sees and experience the same user experience. By disabling these features, where most users will always have them enabled, you’re limiting your perspective on what’s happening on Google SERPs and may miss some vital insights somewhere down the line….

Ann Smarty

Fully agree with that, Barry! The only two things I can say in my defense is that (1) I not always search to analyze (when I am analyzing, I am using a new FireFox profile with clean search history, no addons and scripts) and (2) this was post meant not (only) for marketers (I write those as well!) :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

Ann Smarty

Fully agree with that, Barry! The only two things I can say in my defense is that (1) I not always search to analyze (when I am analyzing, I am using a new FireFox profile with clean search history, no addons and scripts) and (2) this was post meant not (only) for marketers (I write those as well!) :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

Hangdawg

thanks great tips

Reply

Hawk44Gent

I’m a Firefox 3.6.6 user. I am very pleased to have been able to disable both the Google Instant & Suggest. Annoying they were. I changed my Google home page to Encrypted Google and added the 3 filters mentioned above into the preferences in my AdBlock.

The tips are appreciated :-)

Reply

Hawk44Gent

I’m a Firefox 3.6.6 user. I am very pleased to have been able to disable both the Google Instant & Suggest. Annoying they were. I changed my Google home page to Encrypted Google and added the 3 filters mentioned above into the preferences in my AdBlock.

The tips are appreciated :-)

Ann Smarty

Great to he we were some help! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Mantonin6

Ack, it’s stopped working for me! It worked like a dream for a week and a half. What’s going on?

Reply

scarves

Scarves Scarves
It’s funny, but this blog has literally changed my life

Reply

Devin G Rhode

Or you can just open the site to the right! fly through results instead! Sweet search keeps your google results on the left and loads them on the right. http://bit.ly/searchkrack

Ann Smarty

Thanks! I’ll check it out!

Reply

Devin G Rhode

Or you can just open the site to the right! fly through results instead! Sweet search keeps your google results on the left and loads them on the right. http://bit.ly/searchkrack

Reply

Paul Reibold

A SOLUTION for Firefox users:

#1
Press the “Ctrl” and letter “N” keys to open a new Firefox browser window. Type “About:Config” in the address bar. Press the “Enter” key.

#2
Read the warning. Press the “I’ll Be Careful, I Promise!” button.

#3
Type “Firefox” in the blank field labeled “Filter.”

#4
Double-click on the following entry to open a dialog box: “general.useragent.extra.firefox.”

#5
Type “http://www.google.com” into the blank field. Click the “OK” button to close the dialog box. Exit out of the browser window.

#6
Open a new Firefox browser session and navigate to Google’s search engine page. Begin typing in search terms and notice that the “Instant Search” feature is disabled and not showing.

Reply

Paul Reibold

A SOLUTION for Firefox users:

#1
Press the “Ctrl” and letter “N” keys to open a new Firefox browser window. Type “About:Config” in the address bar. Press the “Enter” key.

#2
Read the warning. Press the “I’ll Be Careful, I Promise!” button.

#3
Type “Firefox” in the blank field labeled “Filter.”

#4
Double-click on the following entry to open a dialog box: “general.useragent.extra.firefox.”

#5
Type “www.google.com” into the blank field. Click the “OK” button to close the dialog box. Exit out of the browser window.

#6
Open a new Firefox browser session and navigate to Google’s search engine page. Begin typing in search terms and notice that the “Instant Search” feature is disabled and not showing.

Reply

Ann Smarty

Thanks, Paul!
I did mention the tip in the article and linked to the thread discussing it:
http://forums.mozillazine.org/

Reply

dashesy

Great article, how much I hated this stupid instant and instant preview. Both are really buggy and slow and useless.
I just wish I could keep the Google suggest but get rid of the instant.

Reply

dashesy

Great article, how much I hated this stupid instant and instant preview. Both are really buggy and slow and useless.
I just wish I could keep the Google suggest but get rid of the instant.

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