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Enable or Disable Chrome Address Bar Instant Search

Google Chrome has a feature that lets you bring Google’s instant search to the address bar. By default it’s turned off, and for possible good reason. The Chrome address bar instant search essentially allows Google (or your current search engine) to track everything you type into the address bar. If you’re okay with that, you can enable it. Disabling it is done from the same spot in Chrome settings.

Open up Chrome and click the Wrench >> Settings option.

Chrome wrench settings

Scroll down the settings page and click or unclick the Enable Instant for Faster Searching (omnibox input may be logged).

enable instant for faster searching chrome

If you’re enabling instant search, Chrome will display an extra confirmation window. This window asserts that your data may be logged, if your current default search engine supports this feature. If you agree with it, click OK.

google chrome instant confirmation box

Google’s official privacy policy on Chrome Instant Search.

Policy: Any text you type in the address bar is sent to Google so predictions can be retrieved. If you select a prediction from the address bar menu, press Enter, click the search results page that appears, or pause for three seconds with the same text in the address bar, Google logs your text as a search. Otherwise, Google treats the text you typed as partial query data, which is stored for up to two weeks and then deleted.

That’s all there is to enabling or disabling Instant search results in Chrome. If you don’t mind Google or another search engine knowing everything that you type in the address bar, then having it enabled is a rather groovy feature. But if you are more privacy minded, it is definitely something you’ll want to keep turned off.

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8 Responses to Enable or Disable Chrome Address Bar Instant Search

  1. Kelsey E. Benedict January 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    So when you type a phrase into the Google Chrome address bar and one of the results turns up in a bolded font, what does that mean?

    • Austin Krause January 28, 2013 at 5:34 am #

      The bold text is just highlighted to show that it is an exact match to your query. It can be part of the webpage title, description, or URL. You aren’t like to see it as part of the description or title though unless you have already visited that page or it is stored in your bookmarks.

  2. Jane August 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    This feature is not available, now. Version 36. It is VERY ANNOYING !

  3. fuck July 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    Fucking Google, everytime you figure out how to stop their intrusive crap, they change the version.

  4. Clzwld December 21, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    Update the info
    Not showing the enable box. Version 47 Dec 2015

  5. RP February 3, 2016 at 6:14 am #

    This idiotic ‘feature’ needs to go. Minor typos result in the whole address changing. Idiots.

  6. Peter Ruseckas February 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    How do I shut of search in omnibox?

  7. David Spector February 10, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    To disable search in omnibox, see!topic/chrome/gX-XROa4f6c for a workaround that works in version 48.0 .

    No other solution seems to be posted on the Web as of Feb. 2016. Google apparently knows exactly how its users should use its products, so only a few options are supported.

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