Google is famous for its no-frills approach to displaying search results. At various times, it has tried introducing extra features (the Discussion button and Instant Preview, anyone?), but they’ve always fallen by the wayside eventually.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t change both the look and the functionality of Google’s search results. You just need to head to the Chrome Web Store and download some extensions.
So, here are the best Chrome extensions for customizing your search results.
1. Google Search Filter
Most people have a selection of sites that are their go-to domains for specific types of content (such as MakeUseOf for technology, hint hint!). Similarly, you probably have a few sites that you’ve mentally blacklisted (like certain newspapers or domains with low-quality content).
Google Search Filter is a way to make sure that your favorite sites are always noticeable in your list of results. It also simultaneously hides any results from the sites you dislike. Your preferred sites will be highlighted in green.
In the configuration file, add a + before a domain to highlight it, add a # to take no action, and type the domain “as is” to remove it.
Download: Google Search Filter (Free)
2. Discussions Button for Google Search
Until a few years ago, Google used to offer a Discussions tab at the top of its list of results (alongside Images, Videos, News, etc.). It used to filter your results so they only showed hits from forums, message boards, blog post comments, and other similar content. Then, in typical Google fashion, it mysteriously disappeared.
The Discussions Button for Google Search extension brings back that tab. It doesn’t work in the same way as the original tab; Google has completely removed the feature from its backend. Instead, the extension uses a selection of filters and Boolean operators to find search matches from discussion-based sites.
Download: Discussions Button for Google Search (Free)
3. Google Results Previewer
Remember when you used to be able to see a preview of a site directly from the list of search results merely by hovering your mouse over the entry? Google Results Previewer restores that functionality. If you’re a tab hoarder, it’s a must-have extension.
To make the preview appear, hover your mouse over the link in the list of results. Note that to make the preview disappear, you’ll need to click elsewhere on the screen manually. Presumably, this is to make sure previews aren’t constantly opening and closing based on small mouse movements, but we do wish there was an option to disable it.
Note: You may need to clear your cookies to make it work.
Download: Google Results Previewer (Free)
Look, we like Pinterest. It’s a great way to find inspiration for DIY projects, interior design, meals, and a whole lot more.
But due to the site’s popularity, it now dominates the list of Google Image Search results in certain topics. At times, that can be annoying, especially considering you can’t do much with the images you find unless you have a Pinterest account.
Unpinterested! removes all Pinterest pages from your search results—in both image searches and regular searches. The filter can be enabled and disabled with a simple toggle, so if there are times when you want to see the Pinterest results, it is easy to do so.
5. Night Mode for Google Search
Dark modes and night modes are becoming increasingly popular among users. They help to reduce eye strain, especially if you’re using your machine in the small hours.
If you use dark modes on your operating system and apps, it can be jarring when an app that doesn’t offer night modes suddenly presents you with a light screen. Google Search is one of the biggest culprits.
Night Mode for Google Search fixes the problem. There’s a switch to quickly toggle between a light and dark display, and various settings you can adjust to customize your experience.
Download: Night Mode for Google Search (Free)
6. WhenX for Google Search
Sometimes, it’s useful to know when you last visited a webpage. It makes it easy to recognize a site that you found valuable if you want to revisit it in the future.
WhenX for Google Search provides an elegant solution to the issue. It simply adds a tag with your last visit on the right-hand side of the link in the search results. The label contains both the time and date. And importantly, WhenX for Google Search works with sites that you visited before you installed the extension.
All the extension’s browsing history data is saved locally; nothing is sent to WhenX’s servers.
Download: WhenX for Google Search (Free)
7. Infinite Scroll for Google
Are you tired of clicking through endless pages of results to find the answer to the question you’re researching? Infinite Scroll for Google could be the answer.
When you get to the bottom of the first page of results, the extension will automatically load the next page below, all without any input from you.
Download: Infinite Scroll for Google (Free)
8. Google Search Date Range Shortcut
When you’re researching something, you might want to find something from a specific period. Content such as old articles and new stories spring to mind.
Natively, Google provides a date filter, but you have to click on Tools to open it, and the list of preset ranges is quite limited.
If you install the Google Search Date Range Shortcut extension, two things happen. Firstly, the Tools menu will always be open and visible. Secondly, you can add additional date ranges to the dropdown menu and customize the existing ones.
Download: Google Search Date Range Shortcut (Free)
9. Straight to Full-Size for Google Images
If you do a lot of Google Images searches, you will be familiar with how Google opens a preview of the image rather than the original source when you click on a thumbnail.
The Straight to Full-Size for Google Images extension kills that intermediate step. If you click on an image result, Chrome will automatically load the image’s URL.
Download: Straight to Full-Size for Google Images (Free)
We end with myGoogle. It is a fun extension that adds a dash of personality to your search results; it doesn’t have any practical benefit.
The extension simply lets you replace the Google name with a word or phrase of your own choosing. The word(s) you choose will follow Google’s famous blue, red, yellow, and green branding.
Download: myGoogle (Free)
Discover More Great Google Extensions
The Chrome extensions we’ve discussed will help you to make Google work exactly the way you want. If we’ve missed your favorite extension for customizing Google Search results, make sure you let us know in the comments.