How to Change Your Search Engine in Google Chrome

Joe Pena on October 12, 2020
As a Chrome user, you may feel as though relying on Google as your search engine is the natural choice-- after all, the browser dominates with just over 92% of the global market share. 

You would think it would make sense to use the most popular search engine, in terms of yielding numerous, accurate results. However, there are many reasons why you may want to change your default browser and alter your search results. 

Choosing the appropriate search engine can potentially change your internet browsing experience for the better, either by offering you more appropriate or varying results, saving you time, or protecting your privacy. 

Stay tuned as we break down the reasons you may want to abandon Google as your primary search engine and give you some possible alternatives to implement. 

Then we’ll walk you through the steps to switching your default browser, so you can make the switch official!

To Google or Not to Google?

While it’s true that Google’s interface is more user friendly and personalized than many of the alternatives, this usually comes at a cost to your privacy and information. 

Google products and services are usually free, which means they make their money off selling your information to deliver targeted ads. The platform records each search and uses this data to improve results next time around.

Greater efficiency, but at what cost?

Google says that only a fraction of queries searched will receive personalized results-- usually within the context of previous searches-- and that searches made in incognito are entirely untouched. Instead, the search engine claims that the majority of variances across search results are due to time and location.

Despite this, many are still concerned about the possible digital silo’s and “filter bubbles” created by Google Search that may limit or alter the results we receive. 

It is extremely rare that two people will receive the same exact search results for the same exact query. Is this accuracy and efficiency? Or just the lack of a single set of objective and replicable search results?

Whether or not this is a problem is up to you. Tons of tech companies rely on user data to provide better, faster and more accurate products and services-- free to you thanks to the market for targeted ads.  

This brings us to another questionable part of Google Search.

Have you ever noticed that your first 1-5 search results are all marked as ads?

Businesses can pay to have their products and services appear at the top of search results based on the use of certain keywords within queries. While this feature is great for driving traffic to businesses, it can keep you as the consumer from finding new and different products and services, and limit your overall agency online. 

Using Google is ultimately accepting the tradeoff between efficiency and privacy. If you’ve decided that you would rather protect your personal information--or you just think you need a different kind of search-- here are a few alternatives you can use: 

Bing 

This one is an obvious second choice, for many reasons. Firstly Bing is closest ranked next to Google, holding over 7% of the global market share. 

The search engine performs better than Google in terms of video search, as the interface lets you browse thumbnails and even preview some videos without leaving your search page. Bing also offers more autocomplete search options, which can be helpful in many situations. 

We should also mention Bing’s rewards program, which allows you to earn points with each search and eventually redeem them for gift cards to various retailers like Amazon and Starbucks, or as a donation to charity.

Yahoo! 

Although it used to dominate the market before Google arrived many years ago, Yahoo has dropped to third in market share holdings. 

It has the most features and capabilities for shopping through search, compared to any other platform, and it can also be used alongside Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Answers, and Yahoo Mail. 

The only thing to watch for with Yahoo is that some ads are hard to tell apart from organic search results and there is an overall lack of dated search results, both of which can be frustrating for any user. 

DuckDuckGo 

If privacy is your concern, this is the best choice for you. DuckDuckGo offers site encryption and doesn’t store or track any of your personal information, while still delivering fast and effective results. 

StartPage 

If you’re having a hard time parting with Google but are concerned about privacy, you may want to install Start Page. This is another great engine that keeps your information private, as there is no data storing and tracking. It also generates URLs without having to store cookies and manages to retain your settings without compromising your privacy. 

How to change your default search engine 

Now that you’ve chosen your search engine, we can walk you through how to ensure that your chrome browser search bar defaults to that platform. 

1. Start by opening a Chrome browser window on your Mac or PC and clicking on the three vertical dots in the top right corner of your screen.

2. This will open a drop down menu where you can select settings.
    
3. On the Settings page, scroll down until you find ‘Manage search engines,’ under the Search engine section. 
4. Here you will find all of the available search engines, with Google already set as your default. To change this, simply click the three vertical dots beside the search engine you want to use and select ‘Make default’.

* If the search engine you want to use is not already available, you just have to open the webpage on google once before it appears in the ‘Other search engines’ section. 

There are so many search engines available to use, beyond the list above. While there are debates about which option is better, what matters most is that you’re using the one that is tailored to your needs. Whether you stick with Google or decide to switch to something different, just know that you have options! Hopefully this information helps you make the most out of your search experience.