Stop Google from auto filtering your search terms

May 26, 2011

One feature of Google that I really like is how it automatically filters my search criteria while I’m typing, offering me potential matches to those terms. I don’t even need to type very much to start getting matches, and of course, the more specific I am in what I type, the closer the Google matches are:

Example showing Google's autocompleteThis saves me time as often the search term I’m entering is already listed and I only have to select it to get those results.

However, my husband hates this feature — so much so that he asked me if he could turn it off. Yes, he could, and this is how you do it:

  1. On any Google page, click the ‘gear’ icon in the top right corner.
    Gear icon
  2. Click Search Settings.
    Click Search Settings
  3. On the Global Preferences page, scroll down to the Autocomplete section. The default setting is Provide query predictions in the search box — this means that as you enter your search terms, Google will show you terms and phrases that match.
  4. To turn this feature off, select the Do not provide query predictions in the search box option.
    Autocomplete options
  5. Make any other changes to your search preferences, then click Save Preferences (there’s a button at the top and bottom right of the page — it doesn’t matter which one you click).
    Save Preferences button
  6. Click OK on the message you get telling you that your preferences have been saved, and you will return to the Google page you were on before you changed these settings.

[Links last checked May 2011]


  1. Thank you!! My 84-year-old hates this, too, and I tried to mollify him by saying it was a help. That remark didn’t help! Now I can turn it off for him. (I’m his IT Department.)

  2. This does not stop Google filtering your search terms. Google “personalizes” your search results based on 57 criteria. What you get is what Google thinks you want to see.

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