Fix hourglass cursor blinking rapidly in Google Chrome

For the past two days I have experienced a rather strange phenomenon on my Windows PC. The mouse cursor started to display the hourglass (busy) symbol every second or so; it was blinking all the time.

It took me a while to find out which program was responsible for this. Once I noticed that the cursor was displaying the hourglass every second, I started to close down programs one after the other to find out which was causing the issue.

Turns out, Google Chrome Dev was the culprit which caused this.

I then thought that this may be caused by a webpage in the browser, so I saved them all and closed them down one by one.

chrome-hourglass-cursor

This did not resolve the issue. Next up were extensions which I disabled, but that too was not the cause of the blinking cursor.

I then went to chrome://flags and reset all properties here, and also made sure that the browser was up to date.

All of this was not helping, and I was still noticing the blinking hourglass cursor in the browser.

I tried Chrome Stable which is also installed on the system and it worked fine and without any issue.

Back to Chrome Dev I decided to check out the Task Manager by pressing Shift-Esc.

google voice search hotword beta

Here I noticed that the task Extension: Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) was appearing and disappearing in the task manager in the same rhythm as the cursor was showing the hourglass in Chrome.

I had a good idea now what was causing the issue, and the only thing left to do was to find a way to disable voice search in Chrome.

  • Load chrome://settings/ in the web browser's address bar.
  • Click on the show advanced settings... link at the bottom of the window once the settings have loaded.
  • Scroll down to privacy and locate the Enable "Ok Google" to start a voice search preference here.
  • Uncheck it. The cursor stops blinking right away.

enable-ok-google

To test that this was indeed the reason, I enabled the feature again and as soon as I did that, the cursor was going all crazy again showing the hourglass rapidly in the Chrome web browser.

So why is this happening? My initial thought was that there was something wrong with the microphone of my Logitech G930 headset, but when I turned the microphone off in Windows, Google Chrome would still display the busy cursor in rapid succession.

Since the extension is listed as beta in the Task Manager, and not available on the manage extensions page in Chrome, it is likely that it has a bug that is causing this.

It is unlikely that all Chrome Dev users are affected by this. A quick search on the Internet revealed no hits describing the issue.

Still, if you are noticing that your cursor is going all crazy when Chrome is open, then you may want to check the Ok Google setting in the preferences of the web browser to see if it resolves the issue.

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Responses to Fix hourglass cursor blinking rapidly in Google Chrome

  1. Hannibal March 27, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Chrome is doing exactly the same in the stable version running in Windows 8 metro mode. But there's no way to turn OK Google off as it doesn't appear in the settings menu. It's been doing this to me for some few days now.

  2. chesscanoe March 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    FYI I'm not seeing the problem on Win7 x64 Home running Version 34.0.1847.92 beta-m of Chrome, with the referenced Voice Search beta installed as
    Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) 0.1.1.5 .

  3. Charles Robinson March 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    "check out the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Esc."
    Dumb home user here...running W7 Home Premium on a desktop PC. When I press Ctrl-Esc I get the same display I get when I press the Windows key. How do I get that same Task Mgr. screen that you show in this article - showing the various things running under Chrome (tabs, plug-ins, etc.)?

  4. Curt Franks March 30, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    I'm on Chrome Beta and for me, in the Settings, under Privacy, the check box followed by "Enable OK Google to start a voice search" disappeared completely. I like using voice search but now anytime I open a new tab or start the home page, I get a hollow microphone and have to click on it to use Google voice search. This just started today.

  5. James Lee March 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I have the same issue in Chrome (not Dev) but I checked and it is not from the voice search extension. My cursor blinks every minute or so. I pressed Shift+ESC to bring up the task manager and I see a task appear and disappear at the same time my cursor blinks. The task appears/disappears so fast that I can't read it fast enough. Any ideas on how I can see the task or how I can fix this? It's driving me crazy.

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