How to Make Google Your Default Search

Charlie R. Claywell
Google search in Firefox browser

Odds are you use Google when you search the web, but that doesn't mean it's your browser's default search engine. If it isn't, making it the default only takes a few steps.

Setting Your Default Search in Chrome

Google is the most used search engine in the world, and its browser, Chrome, recently gained control of the number one position for browsers, toppling Internet Explorer from the top position.

When Chrome is installed on your machine, Google will be the default search engine. If the default settings happen to have been altered, you can either reset all the settings or reset only the default search engine by following these steps.

Make Google the Default Search Engine

  1. Click on Menu icon.
  2. Go to Settings and scroll down to Search.
  3. Select Google from the drop-down menu.

In Chrome, the address bar doubles as a search box so there is no need to add the search engine to your browser's toolbar. Instead, search inside the address bar, and Chrome will use your default search engine to complete the request.

Setting Your Default Search in Internet Explorer

Before you can set a search engine as the default, you need to determine which version of Internet Explorer you are using. To find out, go to Help >> About Internet Explorer. Once you know the version, use the appropriate set of instructions below.

Make Google the Default Search Engine

Internet Explorer 8

  1. Go to the search box in the top right corner of the browser. Click the down arrow beside the magnifying glass icon.
  2. Select Find More Providers.
  3. Select Google.
  4. Place a check inside the box labeled "Make this my default search provider."
  5. Select Manage Search Providers.
  6. Click Add.

Internet Explorer 9

  1. Click the Tools icon in the top right corner of the browser.
  2. Select Internet options.
  3. Go to the General tab, locate the Search section and click on Settings.
  4. Choose Google.
  5. Click Set as Default.
  6. Click Close.

Internet Explorer 10 or 11

  1. In the top right corner of browser, click the gear icon.
  2. Select Manage add-ons.
  3. Select Search Providers.
  4. Click Find more search providers, found in bottom left corner of the screen.
  5. Choose Google.
  6. Click Add to Internet Explorer button.
  7. When window appears, check box beside Make this my default search provider.
  8. Click Add.

Internet Explorer is the only popular browser left that lets you add a Google Toolbar to the browser. All of the other popular browsers are like Chrome in that you use the address bar as the search bar, and the results are returned by your default search engine.

Install the Toolbar

To add the toolbar, you must use Internet Explorer 6+ and operating systems: Windows Vista, XP or 7+.

  1. Go to Google's Toolbar homepage.
  2. Download Google Toolbar
  3. Agree to terms of service and click install.
  4. After it is installed, Toolbar will appear at the top of new browser windows.

Making Google Your Default Search in Firefox

Of all the browsers, Firefox and Safari have the easiest method for setting Google as the default search engine since they only require two steps.

To make Google the default search engine:

  1. In the small search bar (top right of browser), click the down arrow.
  2. Select Google.

Making Google Your Default Search in Safari

Just like the Firefox browser, Safari only requires two steps to make Google the default search engine.

To set Google as the default search engine:

  1. In the upper left corner of the search bar, click the magnifying glass.
  2. Select Google.

Setting Google as Your Default Search in Opera

Although not as popular as the other browsers listed here, Opera is still used by an estimated 350 million users. Setting Google as the default search engine only requires three steps.

To change the default search engine to Google:

  1. Click on Opera in the upper left corner and click on Settings (or click Alt+P).
  2. Find the section named Search.
  3. Select Google Search from the drop down menu.

Different Search Engines

Although Google is by far the most popular search engine, it is not the only one. If you decide you want a different search engine as the default -- and find that it is not an option when you try to select it -- you will need to add it as an option. Each browser is unique in how a search engine is added as an option, but they all follow the same basic guideline.

  1. Open a new window and do a search with the new search engine (for example, go to www.bing.com and perform a search).
  2. Copy the search URL, but replace the actually search with %s.
  3. Inside your browser's settings, find the search provider option and add the new URL.

Once the search engine has been added as an option for the browser, follow the steps listed above to make it your default search engine.

As Easy as a Few Clicks

Once you have a few directions, it's easy to change your default server. Refer back to these directions any time you feel the need to make a change.

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How to Make Google Your Default Search