Customize Google search results page
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How to customize Google search results page and turn-off unwanted features [Google Chrome]

Learn how to turn off Google search features (e.g., Instant predictions and Personal results, and more), plus in this How-To you’ll learn some CSS tricks to fully customize Google search results page to make search simple again.

We all have noticed for sometime that Google has been adding many new features to search, Google Instant predictions, Personals results, Results details, and many others. These tools may be useful for many users, but I just like a simple search result page with a list of good links that contain the answer I am looking for, and nothing more. Google provides the good search results capability, but additional features can be a little bit annoying for some.

The break down: First, do you really need “Instant predictions”, when you know that clicking the search button, results will just come up in a split second? Also, have you ever noticed that having this feature enabled often words may get mistyped, because the search box flies to the top-left corner of the screen when you start typing a search term?

Next is “Personals results” — Google unveiled this feature not too long ago and basically it combines your social activities (Google+) with search and then a new listing of results will be shown to you, but prioritizing your social activities first. This was not very well received by many people, because results may be different from the organic ones.

Last is “Results details” – This is the preview of the web page that you can check before clicking the link, the preview (or Results details) will appear to the right side of a particular link on the results page, when clicking the double-arrow button. As useful as this feature can be, how many times have you ever previewed a link before clicking? — We all want to get to the answer we are looking for fast.

Another issue I have found is that Google list its results on the far left side of the screen, today most websites — including this one — are centered on the screen for better viewing. Google listing results on the left can present some viewing angle problems when using large and wide screens.

While we cannot just drop into Google’s headquarters, knock on the door and ask them to remove these features, you can easily turn off most of them from your Search Settings by clicking the gear button, located on the top-right corner of the Google search results page.

From the Search Settings you can control:

  • Safe Search filters: How much filter you want in your results? No filtering, moderate or strict.
  • Google Instant predictions: When Google will start displaying results — In this option choose “Never show Instant results” to show the search result when I click the search button.
  • Results per page: Control how many links results are shown per page. The fewer the better!
  • Personal results: Google will combine search with Google+ information to provide a different type of related content. To turn OFF this feature, simply select “Do not use personal results” — remember that you need to be singed in to your Google account to make this option available. For more information check our previous article (How to disable the new Google’s personal search results – Kind of…).
  • Where results open: This is interesting, personally I like my links to open in a new tab, that way if I visit a webpage and then I start visiting other links inside that page I don’t have to click the back button many times.
  • Blocking unwanted results: This option requires to be signed in, then you can block sites that you don’t want in your result page.
  • Web History: Also this option requires to be signed in, then you can control whether or not Google saves your Web History to personalize your results.

OK, you’ve seen that changing the Search Settings, you won’t be bothered with Instant predictions, Google will not display combined results with Google+ information by turning off Personal results, and many others if you decide to change additional settings.

The last two things left to do to fully customize Google search results page for a simpler search experience, is to move the results page to the center of the screen and remove Results details. The question remains to how do we do this? The answer is simple, with a Google Chrome extension.

Searching for a long time I’ve found Stylebot and I think it is a great extension to address these last two “issues”. This is a Chrome extension that helps you to inject your own CSS style to any web page, locally in your web browser. For many of you that don’t know, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation of web pages (color, font, width, height, etc.). But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to get this working, just follow these steps:

1 Install Stylebot in Google Chrome from the Google Store.

You can learn more about how Stylebot works in this video:

2 With the extension now installed and enabled, do a search on Google, and in the search result page open Stylebot by clicking css link that appears on the right-hand side of Chrome’s search box (onmibar) or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+M.

3 At the bottom of the Stylebot CSS editing box that opened on the right side of your screen, click Edit CSS and copy and paste the following CSS code:

.mw {
    margin: 0 auto;
}

.msel .kls {
    border-left: 5px solid #fff;
    font-weight: bold;
}

#appbar {
    margin-top: 0;
    margin-right: auto;
    margin-bottom: 0;
    margin-left: auto;
    width: 1250px;
    border-bottom: 1px solid #fff;
}

div.gbqfr {
    margin-top: 0;
    margin-right: auto;
    margin-bottom: 0;
    margin-left: auto;
    width: 1000px;
    border-bottom: 0;
}
div.vspii {
    visibility: hidden;
} 

The CSS code described above will center the search results page on the screen, it will hide the red mark on the left side of the selected item on the menu (Everything, Images, Maps, etc.) and it will also hide the Details result button.

4 Click Save at the bottom of the Stylebot CSS editor box and refresh the search results page if necessary to see the new changes.

This is a normal view of the Google search results page:

Regular Google search results page

This is how your search results page should look like:

custom Google search results page

Important: Few things you need to know — This changes only are reflected when you are using Google Chrome with the Stylebot extension enabled and in your web browser only. If you are using Chrome on incognito, because in this mode extensions are not loaded, this CSS trick will not load.

To revert to the old style, simply do a search on Google, open Stylebot, click the Edit CSS, delete all the content and click Save. Alternatively you can just uninstall Stylebot from Chrome.

Now search is simple again! No fancy instant search, search personalization, or previewing a page, just a good old centered result page with the answers you are looking for. I went through many steps in this article, but in reality is pretty simple and it shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes, including the installation of Stylebot, to customize Google results page.

We all like to hear if it worked for you, so try it and let us know in the comments below. Thanks!