How to Change the Default Search Engine on Chrome

On occasion, you might want to experiment with different search engines to get different results for your queries. Some search engines offer different website rankings and features such as integrated VPN gateways. While Google remains the popular choice for many users, other search engines have become widely available and can be used in conjunction or instead of Google.

If you think Google Chrome only offers Google Search as their search engine, you’d be mistaken. Google Chrome is compatible with many other search engines.

In this article, we’ll explain how to change the default search engine in Chrome on your PC or mobile devices.

How to Change the Default Search Engine on Chrome

Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers, and it doesn’t seem to be phased by the emergence of new rivals. When you first install Google Chrome, it will set Google Search as its default browser.

Installing other programs afterward can change the default search engine. Or you might want to try out new engines down the line. As stated above, we’ll show you a few options on how to change the default search engine on PC and mobile devices

How to Change the Default Search Engine on Chrome on a PC

The steps for changing the search engine on Chrome don’t differ greatly between Windows 10, Mac, or Chromebook devices, as Chrome uses a similar UI on all of them. The main difference is in finding the settings and navigating the menus.

There are two ways to change the default browser, depending on what you want to change it to. For the more common browsers, such as Bing, Yahoo!, or Yandex (Russia’s browser of choice), you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click on the three dots icon in the top right corner of the screen, then select Settings in the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can type in “chrome://settings/” (without quotes) in the URL bar.
  3. On the menu on the left, select “Search engine.”
  4. Go to the first line that reads “Search engine used in the address bar.” Click on the arrow on the right.
  5. Select the search engine from the list. It should include the most popular search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex, and other engines you’ve previously used.

If your search engine doesn’t appear on this list, you’ll have to add it manually. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In Chrome, visit the search engine’s website.
  2. Click on the three dots icon in the top right, then select Settings in the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can type in “chrome://settings/” (without quotes) in the URL bar.
  3. Select “Search engine” on the menu on the left.
  4. Click on “Manage Search engines.”
  5. Locate the name of the search engine you visited on the list. The list may be extensive, depending on your search history.
  6. Click on the three dots on the right of the list entry.
  7. Choose “Make default.”
  8. If you introduce a new search engine this way, Chrome will remember it as an option for later, and you can use the first method to access it in case you change the default search engine again.

How to Change the Default Search Engine on Chrome on Android

Google Chrome is available as an app for Android and comes with a selection of search engines to choose from. Here’s how to change the default search engine:

  1. Open the Google Chrome app.
  2. Tap on the three dots in the corner, then go to Settings.
  3. Tap the line that reads “Search engine.” Under this line is the current default engine used.
  4. Google Chrome for Android will have a slightly different list of engines to choose from, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and search engines you’ve used for other mobile browsers.

If you want to add a browser that’s not on this list, there are two ways to do this:

  1. Open the Google Chrome app.
  2. Go to the URL of the search engine you want to use.
  3. Most search engines compatible with Chrome will show a message on the bottom of the screen. If you click the “Add to Chrome” button, Google Chrome will now have access to it.
  4. Follow Steps 1-5 above to change the default search engine to the engine you just added. The new engine will appear in the selection menu.

The other way to change the default engine on Chrome is to turn on syncing between Chrome on your mobile and PC devices. Log into Chrome with your email, and your settings (including the default search engine) will carry over between devices.

How to Set Chrome as the Default Browser

If you’re already using Chrome, it might be best to make it your default browser. While the prompt appears the first time you install Chrome, it can be easy to miss and dismiss when you’re setting up the PC to work with all the necessary programs. This way, all emails, HTML files, and links in documents will open directly in Chrome. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Chrome’s Settings by clicking on the three dots icon in the top right corner, then selecting Settings from the dropdown menu.
  2. Click to Default browser on the menu on the left.
  3. Click on “Make default.”
  4. If you don’t see this button, Chrome is already your default browser.

Why Did My Default Search Engine Change?

There are a few reasons why your default search engine might change without your input. Some users are reporting search engines, or even the entire Chrome program, not working as intended. This is usually due to malware or unwanted extensions installed in Google Chrome. These extensions can come packaged with other installations.

Termed PUP – Potentially Unwanted Program – this kind of software can be different from malware in that users usually have to agree to install it. However, you might not realize all the effects the program will have on your browser, or your computer unless you read the installation screens and download agreements, which are most commonly skipped over to save time. Downloading popular software from sites that are not official is particularly dangerous, as those downloads can frequently include PUPs.

A PUP will usually be an extension or plug-in installed in the system or browser. It can present itself as a few different things, such as search engines, ad fetchers, coupon finders, toolbars, shopping assistants, and more.

Google Chrome will usually record extensions that are installed and will display them when you prompt it to. You can then remove the extension manually, although that might not completely remove it from the system, and it might reappear with a subsequent system boot.

The quickest way to check if your default search engine is changed by an extension is to use incognito mode since it disables extensions. Select the three dots icon in the top right corner, then click on “Incognito Mode” in the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+N with Chrome to open an incognito tab.

Here’s how to remove extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Type “chrome://extensions” in the URL bar.
  2. This will bring up a list of all currently installed extensions. PUPs will often identify themselves by their function. If you notice a new extension that you don’t fully understand what it does, chances are it’s the PUP.
  3. You can disable extensions one by one and test how Chrome works. When you disable the extension that is changing the default search engine, it should revert to Google Search.
  4. Remove any undesired extensions.

If you think there is more software affecting how Chrome works, but it can’t be found in extensions, you can use Chrome to search for PUPs:

  1. Open Chrome’s Settings.
  2. Click on Advanced on the left.
  3. Click on “Reset and Clean up.”
  4. Click on “Clean up computer.”
  5. Chrome will now search through the PC to try and find PUPs. This might take a while. After the results have been compiled, you can take the necessary action to remove them.

Alternatively, you can use Antivirus software to scan your PC for malware. Most popular choices for Antivirus software include Malwarebytes, Kaspersky, Norton, and Bitdefender. You can browse for the software solution that works best for you.

If you feel you’re in over your head, or malware removers don’t help, enlist a qualified technician to clean your computer up, remove malware, and make necessary changes to your browser. Some malware is notoriously hard to track and may be invisible to Antivirus software.

Search for What You Want

With these instructions, you can change your default search engine in Chrome. There are a few differences between what the biggest search engines have to offer, and it’s up to you to decide which of the features you prefer. If you find your default search engine was changed suddenly, you might have some malware installed and will need to take additional security measures to remove it.

What search engine do you prefer to use? How did you get rid of a PUP on Chrome? Let us know in the comments section below.

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