Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar

Martin Brinkmann
May 14, 2019
Updated • Aug 18, 2019
Google Chrome, Search

Google Chrome users who have updated the desktop version of the web browser to the latest version may have noticed a change in how Google Chrome responds to input in the browser's address bar.

Chrome users who type characters into the address bar may notice that Google Chrome may prioritize searches over visited sites after the recent update is installed.

The screenshot below shows an example where Chrome makes Googles Search the default action when you hit the Enter-key and not one of the matching sites visited in the past.

chrome address bar search issue

Previous versions of the browser prioritized the first matching domain name instead so that you could load it quickly by typing the first few characters of the name and hitting the Enter-key.

The change appears to affect all search engines to a degree. While you may change the default search engine of the Chrome browser to address the issue somewhat (away from Google Search to another search provider), it won't fix the issue completely.

Fixing the issue

There is only one real option at the time to revert the change and go back to the previous status quo.

Option 1: Disabling Omnibox Google Drive Document suggestions

chrome omnibox drive suggestions

The prioritization change of search suggestions in Google Chrome seems to be linked to a new experimental flag in Google Chrome. If you disable the feature in Chrome -- it is enabled by default -- you will notice that Chrome returns to the previous search behavior.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions in the Chrome address bar.
  2. Change the experimental flag to disabled by activating the menu next to the preference and selecting "Disabled" from the options.
  3. Restart the Chrome browser.

The description suggests that it adds Google Drive search options to Chrome's address bar if Google Search is the default provider and if you are signed in to a Google account. Why that is affecting the priority of results is unclear.

Option 2: change the default search provider

chrome change search

It seems that you cannot resolve the issue completely when you switch search providers, but it may help.

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the Search Engine section.
  3. Either pick one of the available solutions under "Search engine used in the address bar", or select "Manage search engines" if the search engine that you want to pick is not listed.
    1. Manage Search Engines lists all detected search engines. Chrome picks them up as you visit the websites of the search engines and run a search.
    2. My selected search engine is Startpage, but you can select any other search engine such as DuckDuckGo as well. (See: It may be time to switch to DuckDuckGo or Startpage for web search)
    3. Select the menu icon next to the search engine and there "make default" to make it the new default search engine in Google Chrome.

Option 3: Use the ^ character or other special characters

chrome-return-only browsing history results

If you start the entry in the Chrome address bar with the ^ character and type at least three characters, results from the browsing history are returned exclusively.

You may also start with * to only return bookmark results.

Now You: Which search provider do you use currently?

Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar
Article Name
Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar
Find out how to restore Google Chrome's default search priority feature when using the browser's address bar to prioritize visited sites.
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  1. Mark Thiele said on February 2, 2021 at 1:06 am

    I got it to work, sometimes, by disabling ‘Omnibox Bubble URL Suggestions’ on Version 88.0.4324.96 (Official Build) (64-bit). It’s not perfect but better. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  2. Anonymous said on January 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

    The following does not exist anymore, and it seems there is no corresponding setting either in the list… #omnibox-group-suggestions-by-search-vs-url

    Anyone else having any clue? (It is killing my productivity, I want sometimes to throw the browser away but it is company policy)

  3. Kyle said on December 17, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    I did theese before when happened but is now doing it again and because is already disabled and search bar changed dont know what to do is the third time this has happened

  4. Neil G Lindberg said on October 2, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I very much appreciate the direction.
    I found the suggested setting no longer exists in my version of Chrome Version 77.0.3865.90 (Official Build) (64-bit)

    It seems the setting I wanted is:

    Thank you for pointing me in the right direction though!

  5. Ljubo Opaki said on July 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Wow, thank you man, beautiful. Thank you. Have I said thank you? Oh back to this lovely shit, yisss

  6. Anonymous said on July 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you, this was driving me crazy!

  7. Anonymous said on July 18, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Thank you! This have been driving me absolutely nuts! I’ve been googling to find a workaround, but all I could find were unrelated bug reports from 2012. This needs to be higher!

  8. Breno said on July 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Hi! Talking about Adress Bar X History, for me, it’s clear that Chrome does not give preference to search our history. If I search for words from a site I’ve visited for more than 20/30 days, Chrome’s address bar no longer shows the site in any way, forcing us to search for words again in the search engine (Google). I believe this happens with purpose of you visit the search page and visualize/click on ads. For me it’s terrible because several times I have difficulties finding websites that I use and it takes much more time to access them because of this functionality. Does anyone know about this?

  9. Anonymous said on July 1, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    google is evil

  10. Anonymous said on June 22, 2019 at 5:56 am

    omg thank you so much. This has been driving me mad!!!

  11. p. said on June 21, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Thank you SO MUCH. This just started for me about a week ago (I don’t recall updating, maybe it got sick of me waiting and auto-updated) and it’s been driving me up a tree. The fix in Option 1 worked perfectly!

  12. Anonymous said on June 19, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

  13. Kaitlin said on June 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    That change was really bugging me. Thanks for the solution. I think they were after more searches/ad revenue, even if they were accidental and annoying.

  14. Marek said on June 19, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    OMG… Such a tiny thing. Such an elegant (and simple; and smart) solution. Such a RELIEF. :D
    XXI century problems, I guess. xD

    Thank you so much. <3

  15. Stenly said on June 12, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Hi and THANK YOU for this article… I don’t get it, who at google thought this is great idea… so ridiculous nonsense :D

    again, THANK YOU!!!

  16. Anonymous said on June 9, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    <3 THANK YOU

  17. RICHARD WATTS said on June 8, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Okay, Thank You! Search and searched for an answer. I don’t want my URLs to search for results, I want my URL to autocomplete to websites I’ve visited, e.g. typing ama gets me to, but with recent update it autocomplete Amazon and then searched for it on web results.

    Thank you for the notice on experimental – this set the behavior back to original.

    I will be subscribing as a Patron to your site.

  18. IggyDaFool said on June 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks man! It’s a very annoying feature. Why the heck they changed this where it is clear that you will most likely revisit a domain than google search again a keyword.

  19. Mario Mario said on June 7, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Thanks internet! this solved my problem :) Just found this, and I love how sites like this exist

  20. Axel said on June 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    It drove me crazy. Thank you so much.

    That change was seriously the most idiotic thing someone has ever done. There is simply no fucking reason why someone at Google should think “Hey, let’s prioritize some random word a user searched that one time over A GOD DAMN WEBSITE HE HAS VISITED EVERY GOD DAMN DAY FOR THE LAST 10 DAMN YEARS.

    Thanks for the fix.
    And Google, please fire the one person responsible for this. Seriously, this person is driving your average IQ at Google to the negative area.

  21. Chris said on June 3, 2019 at 4:46 am

    Google; pay attention – nobody wants to search for something they’ve already searched for – I’ve done the search, I’ve gotten the information that I need. I don’t want to do that same search again.

    This behaviour makes no sense and is completely counter-intuitive.

  22. Matt said on May 29, 2019 at 5:26 am


  23. Eze said on May 26, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks. Changed so many other settings trying to ‘fix’ this. Do people just exclusively use bookmarks or something?

    Why would I want to repeat a search for the same thing? So bizarre.

  24. Harrison Ward said on May 26, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much. Have no idea why Chrome even did this. Such a frustrating and unnecessary change to its default behaviour.

  25. C said on May 24, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks Martin, very kind of you

  26. Anonymous said on May 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks a bazillion, man

  27. Christopher said on May 21, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks. This bug or “feature” is REALLY annoying. I needed a fix.

  28. Asaf said on May 20, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you so much! I’m so used to typing certain letters and getting certain sites so it really annoyed me.

  29. Anonymous said on May 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm


  30. Elise said on May 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    That worked! Thank you!

    Urgh, whose idea was it to put this in anyway… The user experience has really taken a toll in software development of the last few years…

  31. Steve Homer said on May 19, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    A million thanks for that. Amazon = am, Guardian =g, facebook=f etc again! 10/10

  32. Anonymous said on May 18, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Finally a solution! This was very annoying and slowing down work. Thanks!

  33. luntegg said on May 17, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks! Really need it in last days.

  34. Asdf said on May 17, 2019 at 10:49 am

    This behavior is a bug. Hopefully they fix soon.

  35. TomDems said on May 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for this guide! <3 It's exactly what I was looking for to solve this small but still slightly irritating issue

  36. Anonymous said on May 16, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    Thanks man. This new behavior was annoying me, glad someone else figured out what the issue was.

  37. Anonymous said on May 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Thank you for this, I was getting really annoyed by this change, hope they will fix this soon / change to previous behaviour.

  38. angryguy said on May 16, 2019 at 2:02 am

    What a retarded fucking change.

  39. Jon said on May 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    I noticed the same behaviour with Vivaldi when it updated to version 2.5. It has the same setting at vivaldi://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions. However, disabling it does not revert the behaviour to the way it was before. Very annoying. I posted a comment on the Vivaldi forum, but no response yet.

  40. Richard Allen said on May 14, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    At least on my end, your suggested fix is not working in Chrome Stable or Dev. Default search engine is DuckDuckGo and I’ve tried it while being signed in and out of Chrome Sync. With all attempts the search suggestion was the one prioritized. Having to use the down arrow in chrome isn’t a huge deal but it’s still an extra step and somewhat disappointing. In Chrome Dev I’ve tried the flag chrome://flags/#omnibox-short-bookmark-suggestions and the search suggestion is still the first one.


    In FF I can CTRL+L, type 2-3 characters, hit ENTER, done… when looking for a bookmark

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 14, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Did you visit the suggested resources? I think it only works if you have visited them (correct me if I’m wrong). Not sure how to handle this otherwise.

      1. Richard Allen said on May 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm

        Sorry, I should have mentioned with visited history being saved the suggestion in the address bar is the one I’m looking for, in Chrome Dev anyway.

        Without any history saved in Firefox, after typing red in the address bar, the suggestion in the address bar is and then under that will be a list of reddit bookmarks.

      2. Richard Allen said on May 14, 2019 at 6:52 pm

        I didn’t think of that, thank you. I do not save history, cache or cookies in Chrome Dev and Stable for more than a day or so.

        I just wiped my history, cookies, cache, offline website data from my FF test profile and it is still giving me the bookmark I’m looking for in the address bar.

  41. Sonny said on May 14, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks so much, this was driving me crazy all day. Changing the flag solves the autocomplete issue.

    Chrome’s excellent autocomplete was an important reason for me to start using it, but I guess driving traffic to google search is more profitable than user experience.

  42. Andrew said on May 14, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    I’m in 74.0.3729.131…is that the version of Chrome you have?

  43. Sean said on May 14, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks, going to give this a shot. Been driving me nuts since I’ve updated and I tried a few different flags but nothing seemed to do the trick yet.

  44. chesscanoe said on May 14, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Using Chrome Version 75.0.3770.27 (Official Build) beta (64-bit) under Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17763.475], and signed in to my Google account, I do not see the problem Martin describes. As an aside, the New Tab page Martin shows has the Huge White “Google” word which I never search from, so I set that page to 250% so I never see the Huge White “Google”.

  45. Paul B said on May 14, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Is there a fix for google search itself? Ever since around 2008 goog has been in a downward spiral. For instance when you search for modded bios update for a motherboard and a cnn article comes up on russian collusion or kardashian’s new ass implant.

    1. Anonymous said on December 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

      very accurate

  46. Andrew said on May 14, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Which build of Chrome are you seeing this in? My version says it’s up to date and I’m not experiencing the same thing you are.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 14, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      In the latest stable build: 74.0.3729.131
      Are you signed in to a Google account? Maybe that plays a role?

      1. Andrew said on May 14, 2019 at 4:47 pm

        I’ve now tried it logged in and logged out and it still has the old behavior for me.

  47. John IL said on May 14, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    I get sketched out by Chrome with some of their moves with Chrome. But their market share is so big and dominating the only option really is try to defeat features you don’t want at least until Google stops you from doing that too. Honestly the reason I switched to Chrome years ago is unfortunately not the reason I am forced to stick with it today.

  48. Anonymous said on May 14, 2019 at 9:35 am

    How I can remove the annoying “visit” suggestion bar in Quantum?

    1. Richard Allen said on May 14, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      You’ll need a userChrome.css file inside a folder named chrome (lowercase) that is in your profile folder. The userChrome.css can be created with Notepad, change the file extension name to .css. I have a few dozen rules in mine, I’m thinking the one you want is:

      #PopupAutoCompleteRichResult .autocomplete-richlistitem[actiontype=”visiturl”]{display:none !important}

      At the top of the userChrome file you will need the @namespace line — it’s required for correct functioning:

      @namespace url(“”);

      1. Anonymous said on May 14, 2019 at 9:25 pm

        Thanks Richard for the idea of the userChrome.css.
        However not working with your code. I found this one and the suggestion bar disapeared:

        @namespace url(“”); /* only needed once */

        /* Remove ” – Visit” or ” – Search with” bar in the drop-down */
        #PopupAutoCompleteRichResult richlistitem:first-of-type[type*=”heuristic”],
        #PopupAutoCompleteRichResult richlistitem:first-of-type[actiontype=”searchengine”],
        #PopupAutoCompleteRichResult richlistitem:first-of-type[actiontype=”visiturl”],
        #PopupAutoCompleteRichResult richlistitem:first-of-type[actiontype=”keyword”] {
        display:none !important;

        Thanks again.

      2. Richard Allen said on May 15, 2019 at 3:29 am

        Good deal, I’m glad you got it sorted out! After my earlier reply I was wondering if you meant the “Search for” bar. The bar has never bothered me but I’m going to make a note of some of the rules you posted.

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