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Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar

Google Chrome users who have updated the desktop version of the web browser to the latest version may have noticed a change in how Google Chrome responds to input in the browser’s address bar.

Chrome users who type characters into the address bar may notice that Google Chrome may prioritize searches over visited sites after the recent update is installed.

The screenshot below shows an example where Chrome makes Googles Search the default action when you hit the Enter-key and not one of the matching sites visited in the past.

chrome address bar search issue

Previous versions of the browser prioritized the first matching domain name instead so that you could load it quickly by typing the first few characters of the name and hitting the Enter-key.

The change appears to affect all search engines to a degree. While you may change the default search engine of the Chrome browser to address the issue somewhat (away from Google Search to another search provider), it won’t fix the issue completely.

Fixing the issue

There is only one real option at the time to revert the change and go back to the previous status quo.

Option 1: Disabling Omnibox Google Drive Document suggestions

chrome omnibox drive suggestions

The prioritization change of search suggestions in Google Chrome seems to be linked to a new experimental flag in Google Chrome. If you disable the feature in Chrome — it is enabled by default — you will notice that Chrome returns to the previous search behavior.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions in the Chrome address bar.
  2. Change the experimental flag to disabled by activating the menu next to the preference and selecting “Disabled” from the options.
  3. Restart the Chrome browser.

The description suggests that it adds Google Drive search options to Chrome’s address bar if Google Search is the default provider and if you are signed in to a Google account. Why that is affecting the priority of results is unclear.

Option 2: change the default search provider

chrome change search

It seems that you cannot resolve the issue completely when you switch search providers, but it may help.

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the Search Engine section.
  3. Either pick one of the available solutions under “Search engine used in the address bar”, or select “Manage search engines” if the search engine that you want to pick is not listed.
    1. Manage Search Engines lists all detected search engines. Chrome picks them up as you visit the websites of the search engines and run a search.
    2. My selected search engine is Startpage, but you can select any other search engine such as DuckDuckGo as well. (See: It may be time to switch to DuckDuckGo or Startpage for web search)
    3. Select the menu icon next to the search engine and there “make default” to make it the new default search engine in Google Chrome.

Now You: Which search provider do you use currently?

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