Google restores ability to delete default search engines in Chrome 99

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 5, 2022
Google Chrome
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22

Google removed the ability to remove default search engines in Chromium recently, and integrated the change in Chrome 97, which it released in January 2022.

chrome manage search engines

All web browsers come with a set of search engines, called default search engines, that users may start using right away.  Google's Chrome browser comes with Google as the default search engine, but also with a handful of other search engines, including Microsoft's Bing and DuckDuckGo.

The web browser supports other search engines, and users of Chrome may simply visit the sites of most search engines to add these to Chrome. Search engines may be added manually as well to Chrome's list of supported engines. The custom search engines may then be configured by loading  chrome://settings/searchEngines in the browser.

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Chrome 97 introduced a change that prevented the deletion of default search engines in Chrome. Chrome users could not remove these anymore, while all other search engines could be deleted just as before.

Google reasoned that preventing the deleting of the default search engines was for the benefits of the users, as it was easy to get them removed but not as easy to reinstated them, if the deletion was done in error.

Starting in Chrome 99, Google reintroduced the ability to delete default search engines in Chrome. Chrome users may once again select the menu icon next to the search engine that they want to remove to bring up the context menu with the delete option.

chrome remove default search engine

Selecting the delete option removes the search engine immediately. The default search engine can't be removed, but it is easy enough to make any search engine the default to get rid of all others.

You can make Ghacks (http://www.ghacks.net/?s=%s) the default search engine in Chrome to remove Google, Bing and all other search engines that are listed under default engines. Naturally, this works with any other search engine that is listed on the search engines management page in the browser.

Closing Words

Google listened to the community and reinstated the removed feature. Removal of default search engines may look like a cosmetic change on first glance, as it is easy enough to make another search engine the default in Chrome. On the other hand, some users may want the freedom to remove any search engine from their browser, regardless of whether it is a default or not.

Now You: do you remove the default search engines of your browsers?

Summary
Google restores ability to delete default search engines in Chrome 99
Article Name
Google restores ability to delete default search engines in Chrome 99
Description
Starting in Chrome 99, Google reintroduced the ability to delete default search engines in Chrome. Chrome users may once again select the menu icon next to the search engine that they want to remove to bring up the context menu with the delete option.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Neutrino said on March 5, 2022 at 12:11 pm
    Reply

    “Google listened to the community”

    They always do… but not in a way you think…

    1. Iron Heart said on March 5, 2022 at 1:51 pm
      Reply

      Bromite, Ungoogled Chromium, Brave, Vivaldi…

      1. Neutrino said on March 5, 2022 at 3:02 pm
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        @IronHeart

        Vivaldi? The not-open-source Vivaldi? The one that might be even worse than Chrome? The one that’s more bloated than Edge, and even slower than Firefox?!
        Lol.
        I’m fine with Brave… for now… until they betray us like Marxzilla did.

      2. Iron Heart said on March 5, 2022 at 4:09 pm
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        @Neutrino

        You can verify what Vivaldi is sending. You can just monitor the requests the application makes, after all. So far, Vivaldi has much less network traffic than Chrome and the hostnames it contacts seem to be for legit functionality. Also closed source – technically, yes, but I believe the code is actually source available with only the UI being closed source. As for bloated, yes, true.

      3. Klaas Vaak said on March 5, 2022 at 4:30 pm
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        @Iron Heart: how are ya? Keeping well I hope.

        From what I understand the only thing about Vivaldi that’s closed source is its UI, the rest is open source.

        But, again if I understand well, the 1st time a user opens it, it assign a unique ID, which admittedly they say they don’t use for tracking, but that could change at the flip of a switch.

      4. Iron Heart said on March 5, 2022 at 6:24 pm
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        @Klaas Vaak

        Hey Klaas, I am fine, thank you! Hope you are keeping well, too!

        Yes, Vivaldi Technologies views the UI as its intellectual property. If they made the UI open source as well, forks would start to appear, but therein lies a major problem: If the forks remove the search referrals of Vivaldi and also the prepopulated entries on the new tab page (they advertise certain websites there), then the forks do not help fund the ongoing development of the browser! Without the UI component, forking Vivaldi would be pointless – the rest of the code is basically just vanilla Chromium. They won’t open source the UI until Vivaldi’s funding is secured, I guess. I don’t consider the UI being closed source a major problem btw, although I don’t use Vivaldi and usually give the benefit of the doubt to open source projects (in my case: Brave).

        As for the unique ID they use for telemetry purposes: Again, one can monitor Vivaldi’s network requests, and the data packages going to the telemetry server are very small. They are not collecting anything major there. It’s basically just a ping that says: “Hey, I am an active installation with the unique ID XXX YYY ZZZ” (and the time stamp of the request, I guess). They had to create the unique ID to evaluate how many individual Vivaldi installations are there… They could also collect the IP address of the user, but there might be multiple devices with Vivaldi installed behind any given IP address, which messes with accuracy (this can be fixed via collecting the MAC addresses of individual devices, but this is even worse and might be thwarted entirely by IPv4), and the fluctuation of the IP addresses of any given user is not helping either. Plus, the IP address may also be collected by websites and can be associated with other data points for tracking, so the random unique ID of Vivaldi is both more accurate for them and less problematic for users. We may criticize though, that there is not a method for stopping the request short of blocking the destination domain outside of the browser itself. That is not good, there should be a method to stop being counted as an active installation – although the request itself is essentially non-problematic.

      5. Anonymous said on March 5, 2022 at 4:12 pm
        Reply

        oh no closed-source! my eye, my skin, it burns. get that away from me, its dangerous. argh~!!!!!.

        seriously tho…whats wrong with software not being open-source? like literally, both side have pros & cons no?

        its more about trust really…i know stuff from microsoft/google are known to be untrustable by default but look where mozilla at now.

        fork or not, firefox doesnt seem much different from chromium, upstream decision still directly impact fork too. sometime cant simply be undo.

      6. Dumbledalf said on March 5, 2022 at 6:07 pm
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        @Neutrino

        Vivaldi’s only problems for me are two:

        – it’s bloated and slow even on a modern computer
        – the way it handles tabs (open/close/return to previous) is messed up and the options don’t allow you to fix it

        Other than that Vivaldi is a pretty good browser. In the future they might even be able to make it less bloated, which will be a huge plus.

        Currently I alternate between Brave, Opera and Vivaldi when I get bored or annoyed with either of them.

      7. Anonymous said on March 6, 2022 at 7:30 am
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        @dumbledalf

        can you check if youre using vulkan, opengl or skia? could be the major factor there.
        check in vivaldi://gpu

        as for tab handling, i dont get what you trying to say there, care to elaborate what the way youre trying to make it get/behave/handled?

      8. Trey said on March 6, 2022 at 7:37 am
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        @Dumbledalf

        #1) Your PC must not be all that “modern” if Vivaldi is choking on it.
        #2) Vivaldi is the most customizable browser there is, including how you are able to interact with tabs. If you’re having issues, maybe it has more to do with your own skewed, small sample size of 1 and not the overall user experience.

      9. mike said on March 14, 2022 at 9:36 pm
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        bloatware is always a strong hint of spyware

        modern IDEs allow for compiler optimization, use also less ‘interpreted languages’

        so for a similar product being ‘bloatware’, especially when it comes in anew, is a very strong hint that there might very probably something going on that needs extra resources, that has nothing to do with what browsers do.

        Hint: stay away from bloatware

        what is bloatware?

        does it take more than 5 seconds to shut down?
        does it make a lot of network traffic when booting up, while nobody is logged on yet, even with automated downloads/upgrades disabled (time service, mail servers (local ones, if you run an Internet mail service you are in the ‘professional’ category) do sip some kB, maybe an MB or so during startup with all update-upgrade-auto-download disabled. So what is it doing while sequestering your computer and disabling you from interacting to decide which shutdown activity you want to allow, and how long you allow to wait for a background activity to ‘have the final word’.

        start-up: how long does it take? does it just sequester your computer for a while and do do exactly what while it takes forever?

        microjunk started the sequestering of computers to force all kinds of thing on users they know users would not allow if they could

        then followed outselling redhat, suse, ubuntu doing the same unless you dive into the belly of the beast and find all the little buttons and switches to prevent ‘synchronizing of data’, i.e. deliver the tattle load from your computer use to google, bing, you name it: ‘partners’…..

        just off topic, I am right now retooling after the mob thoroughly destroyed ubuntu, to Kali, for as long as they do not sell out, or let the mob in.

        ‘the mob’: set of individuals with no life, no knowledge, no abilities, but a lot of ambition, vial hate posts, and producing non working, non quality tested, pushing out working similar products through ‘relationships within the “developer” “community”; they call themselves ‘developers’ but have no idea how to run an SW development project, from inception to acception and follow-up, no idea how to design an SW product, no idea how to find out which base to use for the SW project (what database, what programming language if any, what compiler settings, interpreted vs compiled elemets, profiling (right, nobody does that, leaves unnecessary memory, file desctiptors, com sockets open: no profiling because they don’t even know that that is).
        most of them are not even at a decent coder level (bragging with one liners found somewhere is not a sign of actual skill, au contraire: lack of skill is (unsuccessfully) replaced with bragging of scooped up snippets, with no understanding of the underlying issues, like ‘how does the machine code look that is generated when the ‘genious’ uses one or the other one-liner… they are 1D-10Ts and qualify for the label of ‘dumb’, so dumb they need to replace real capability with snarfed up snippets they cannot even defend.

    2. mike said on March 14, 2022 at 9:05 pm
      Reply

      well, they do listen to ‘the community’ of scammers, scrapers, nutjobs (political, religious, you name it), and non performing corporate entities who’s only chance is to make people look at their stuff when they pay big brother google to shove it down our throats.

      they heard that people remove obvious political and junk science biased search engines (in the order of worst to best: google, bing, yahoo, wikipedia…), and also that people clip search engines’ wings by preventing them from shoving their ‘suggestions’ down our throat when we look for an honest product.

      so they created a new service tier for the search engines: be part of the undeletable search engine set so dumb people cannot get rid of them, being again misleaded, manipulated, and shunned from finding great products from people who do not politically/religiously/morally align with the search engine’s goal planting certain narratives, support non performant and overpriced products, promote unhealthy products nobody looks at any more but that company does not want to do what customers want so they go to big bully for help.

      the ‘google community’ is not us, we are the product!

  2. Coriy said on March 5, 2022 at 2:44 pm
    Reply

    Yes, I do, except for Ecosia, which I use. What would be really nice thiugh, would be the ability to add, and remove, search engines in Chromium variants on Android. I would also like to switch away from Google’s webview to Bromite or some other. Not likely, as long as Google has a “natural” monopoly, but I can dream.

    1. Iron Heart said on March 5, 2022 at 4:18 pm
      Reply

      @Coriy

      Technically you can replace Google’s web view with that of Bromite, but it is messy and only possible with root: https://github.com/bromite/bromite/wiki/Installing-SystemWebView

      1. Coriy said on March 5, 2022 at 6:22 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        I know you can, but it’d be great to do it without root. It’d be great to replace and/or simply remove everything without root.

      2. ryuk said on March 6, 2022 at 12:11 pm
        Reply

        That’s where custom ROMs come into play.

  3. computer said no said on March 5, 2022 at 3:19 pm
    Reply

    Google must be just making it up as they go along..Do we do this or do we do that.?.

  4. John G. said on March 5, 2022 at 4:16 pm
    Reply

    Removing things that shouldn’t be removed at any circumstance is a frequent mistake by too much development teams (e.g. W11). They should define better what is the right esence of “devolopment” for them. Thanks for the article! :]

    1. mike said on March 14, 2022 at 9:11 pm
      Reply

      well, define “… that shouldn’t be removed at any circumstance…”

      “shouldn’t” for who’s benefit exactly….

      biased bully search engines that nobody uses just for that, and that nobody wants to feed while they just sit there and still tattle to google, microsoft, whatever yahoo is now with our search queries, even when issued to a different ‘default’ search engine, you mean this should not be allowed, right?

      everything google, facebook, and all the other mob traps do is in favor of who pays them, never in favor of the product (us, pun intended!), so all their ‘removals’ remove your and mine right to decide for ourselves.
      they try, then comes an outcry, they backpaddle.

      I bet in a couple of months this will sneak in as a ‘new’, ‘upgraded’, default hidden somewhere in flags.

      why can we not prevent to just upgrade these browsers and check first in release notes what is ‘upgraded’ (a downgrade for the sheeples (aka ‘product’) is usually a big upgrade in availability to shove unwanted things down the throats of ‘the product’, for the ‘google community’…

  5. Anonymous said on March 5, 2022 at 8:08 pm
    Reply

    These devs need to stop trying to justify their jobs. Stop changing and removing what is not broken.

  6. allen said on March 6, 2022 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    Google’s browser, Google’s choice. (I guess it depends on who’s flipping the coin today.)

  7. ULBoom said on March 7, 2022 at 4:12 pm
    Reply

    Affects .00000001% of users. I’d bet almost all Chrome users have no idea what search engine they use.

    Chrome has “Chrome” and “Google” plastered all over everything so much, combined with the flashing search and URL seizure bars, it’s hard to tell what’s going on.

    And that’s the point, Chrome’s an ad server.

    Next week’s announcement is “Google Ina Blue,” an ad curating theme for high altitude users.

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