How To Permanently Disable Google Instant & Google Suggest

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While 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

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:

  • 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

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

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

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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Comments (34)
  • prasanth

    i have idea for an set of website……but i don;t have any money..how can i start my web site….plz tell me

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ann Smarty

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

  • 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.

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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.