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Chrome is a great browser, but Google’s data collection practices and other general concerns – true or not – may make some people want to change the browser’s default search engine. Fortunately, just because you’re using the company’s browser doesn’t mean you should use their search. And this is true not only for the use of Google.com, in general. But also in terms of the browser used when you type a search in the Omnibox URL.
None of this is to say that the process is intuitive. Even if it is quite easy to achieve. But that’s what this guide is ultimately here to discuss. So let’s see how you can change your default search engine in Google Chrome.
Why would you want to change the default search engine in Google Chrome?
Of course, there are many reasons why a user might want to keep Google Chrome but change the default search engine.
Chrome is, after all, widely regarded as the best browser. At the very least, when it comes to balancing features, security settings, account syncing, and other features with speed. These reasons range from personal preferences to legitimate concerns about how Google is or is not recording data from these searches. Specifically, whether or not this data is stored in a way that conclusively links it to the user.
Whether a change is really a necessity is open to debate. Privacy is, after all, a serious issue for users in the modern online landscape. Google has worked hard to convince users that they are, in fact, safe with Chrome and Google Search. But not everyone is easily convinced. And, in some cases, concerns may be justified to some extent.
Either way, users can just switch to one of the many top rated browsers available on just about any platform. But sticking with Chrome is often the most convenient option. Fortunately, changing the default search engine is also an incredibly easy option if you know where to look.
Here’s how to change the default search engine in Chrome for desktop
As stated above, it’s easy to change your default Google search engine. With much more anonymized options like DuckDuckGo or just something else like Bing, it’s simple. But the steps will vary a bit depending on the search engine you have chosen and the platform you are using.
For example, changing the default search engine on mobile or tablet, rather than desktop, takes slightly different steps that can trip users. There are also some tricky segments in the process if you’re trying to switch to a search engine that Chrome doesn’t include.
- Starting to change your default Chrome search engine starts with opening Google Chrome
- Access the Settings page by clicking or tapping the three-dot overflow menu at the top right of the user interface and scrolling to “Settings”. Tap or click this menu option
- On the Settings page, navigate to the Search engine segment by tapping or clicking “Search engine” in the left pane. Conversely, the segment can also be found by scrolling through the Settings page
- In the search engine segment, the first option provided by Google is a drop-down menu to select the search engine you want to use when typing a search in the omnibox URL. Tap or click the drop-down menu and select the search engine you want to use. At the time of this writing, Google offers its own search, Ecosia, Yahoo !, Bing or DuckDuckGo
Selecting the desired search engine will automatically save the change. You can now enter a search in Chrome’s Omnibox URL and the results will appear from the selected search engine. However, not all search engines are included in Google’s list by default. But if you want to switch to another search engine, you can do that as well.
- Tap or click the “Manage Search Engines” card under the “Search Engines” segment of Chrome’s Settings menu. The resulting page is divided into three sections. One to set the keystroke for searching specific sites with a brief explanation and two sections for default and user-selected search engines
- Scroll down to “Other search engines” and select the “Add” button
- Chrome will present the user with three fields that must be filled in correctly to access the search engine from the Omnibox Chrome
- The first is the “Search engine” field. Google expects users to enter a label for their search engine in this field. So, for example, you can enter “Ask” if you plan to use Ask.com as your default search engine.
- The second field is “Keyword” and provides users with an easy way to access the search engine from the Omnibox URL. Using the example above from Ask.com, users can set the keyword to “Ask”. The term is defined by the user. So any keyword that you will easily remember should be used. If “Ask” is used, then users can simply type “Ask” into the Omnibox, then press the space bar to tell Chrome that search should use Ask.com.
- The last field is titled “URL with% s instead of request” and is the most complicated field to complete. Users will need to start by navigating to the desired search engine in a new tab. As stated above, we are using Ask.com in our example. So in this case we have navigated to Ask.com
- Perform a search in the desired search engine. We searched for “Android Headlines”
- The URL that should be copied is the results page. So in this case it was “http://www.ask.com/web?q=android+headlines” followed by a long string of another referral code. Copy the first segment of the code, up to the query point. This is the piece of code that indicates a query being executed. For Google, the keyword “search” is in the URL. But it’s almost always near the start of the URL and always indicated by an equals symbol. In the case of Ask.com, namely, the pasted URL should be “http://www.ask.com/web?q=”
- Paste the copied URL into the “URL with% s instead of request” field and type the term “% s” at the end.
- Click or press the “Add” button
- Tap or click on the three-dot menu next to the new entry under “Other search engines”
- Press or click on “Set as default” to finalize your selection
You can also change this on mobile
Now you can also change your default search engine for Chrome on mobile. However, not to the same extent or depth as you can for the Chrome desktop. For starters, Chrome doesn’t allow you to set up your own mobile search engine like in the example above. Instead, Google only offers a few default settings set as options.
That said, there are still some great options available to users on this front. And not only does that include anonymized engines like DuckDuck Go. It’s also incredibly easy to change.
- As with the desktop example above, start by opening a new instance of Google Chrome and navigate to a new tab
- Tap the three-dot overflow menu at the top right of the UI
- Press the “Settings” option placed just above the bottom of this menu
- Near the top of the resulting Settings menu, the “Basics” header should contain an option titled “Search Engine”
- Tap on Search engine
- Tap to select the search engine you want to use instead of Google. The current options are Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia
- Tap the back arrow. Chrome will automatically switch to the most recently typed option, so it should automatically save the selection you made.