How to Make Google’s ‘Web’ View Your Search Default

Ernie Smith, writing at Tedium:

But in the midst of all this, Google quietly added something else to its results — a “Web” filter that presents what Google used to look like a decade ago, no extra junk. While Google made its AI-focused changes known on its biggest stage — during its Google I/O event — the Web filter was curiously announced on Twitter by Search Liaison Danny Sullivan. [...]

The results are fascinating. It’s essentially Google, minus the crap. No parsing of the information in the results. No surfacing metadata like address or link info. No knowledge panels, but also, no ads. It looks like the Google we learned to love in the early 2000s, buried under the “More” menu like lots of other old things Google once did more to emphasize, like Google Books.

I haven’t tested it extensively but it sure looks like vastly superior search results than Google displays by default. The trick is to append &udm=14 to the end of your Google search URL. Smith documents how to use this URL structure as your default in a Chrome-derived browser, so that you get these “Web” results by default searches initiated from the browser location field. (Which, lo these many years later, remains the modern command line.)

Safari, uniquely amongst popular web browsers, doesn’t allow users to configure custom search engines. There are ways to get custom search engines in Safari using extensions — Kagi, my default search engine of choice since late 2022, does just this — but it’s kludgy. Why doesn’t Safari support adding custom search engines like every other browser does?

On the Mac, I initiate most web searches from LaunchBar, not Safari’s location field, and LaunchBar makes it trivial to add a custom search using this &udm=14 URL trick. Similar utilities like Alfred and Raycast do too. The downside compared to LaunchBar’s built-in Google search action (and Safari’s location field) is that a simple custom query URL doesn’t provide as-you-type suggested results.

Wednesday, 22 May 2024