Bye Bye, AI: How to turn off Google's annoying AI overviews and just get search results

AI overviews in Google + Dumpster fire
(Image credit: Shutterstock (2182197373))

Google's "AI Overviews" feature, also known as SGE (Search Generative Experience), is a raging trash fire that threatens to choke the open web with its stench. Instead of directing you to expert insights from reputable sources, Google is now putting plagiarized and often incorrect AI summaries above its search results. So when you search for medical advice, for example, the AI may tell you to drink urine to get rid of kidney stones, and you'll have to scroll past that "advice" to find links to articles from human doctors.

Unfortunately, Google does not provide a way to turn off AI Overviews in its settings, but there are a few ways to avoid these atrocities and go straight to search results. In perhaps a tacit admission that its default results page is now a junk yard, the search giant has added a "web" tab to the site so, just like you can narrow your search to "images" or "videos" or "news," you can now get a plain old list of web pages without AI, answer boxes or other cruft.

Below, I'll show you how to filter AI overviews out of the results page using a Chrome extension that I wrote. Or you can send your searches directly to the web tab from Chrome's address bar, avoiding the need to turn anything off. Updated (5/22/2024): There's now a way to configure mobile Chrome, Edge or Firefox to go directly to Google's web tab also.

How to turn off Google AI overviews using a Chrome Extension

The Google AI Overview, like all parts of an HTML page, can be altered using JavaScript. There are a few extensions in the Chrome web store that are programmed to locate the AI Overview block and set its CSS display value to "none." 

After seeing some of the other extensions in the market, including the appropriately-named Hide Google AI Overview, I decided to write my own AI Overview blocking extension called Bye Bye, Google AI. Like all Chrome extensions, it works in both Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers.

Bye Bye AI

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Bye Bye, Google AI also has the option to hide / effectively turn off discussions blocks, shopping blocks, featured snippets, video blocks and sponsored links from the Google results page. You can choose which ones you want to filter out by going to the options menu (right clicking on the toolbar icon and selection Options).

Bye Bye AI Options menu

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The problem with my extension or any of the others is that Google can easily block them or break them. If Google makes small changes in the code on its results pages, the JavaScript in the extension may no longer be able to locate the AI Overview blocks (or other block types) to turn them off. 

A potentially more reliable solution in the long term for turning off AI overviews is to configure your browser so that, when you search from the address bar, it sends the queries straight to the web tab. The Bye Bye, Google AI extension will search the web tab if you hit w + spacebar and then your query. 

Search the Web tab by hitting w + space in the address bar

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

However, below, we'll see how to configure the Chrome browser so that it sends all queries from the address bar directly to the web tab, no extension or hitting w + spacebar required. The disadvantages of sending traffic to the web tab is that it doesn't show other kinds of results such as videos, discussions, featured snippets, images or shopping blocks and you might want to see some or all of those. 

How to block AI overviews when searching from Chrome's address bar on the Desktop

If, like me, you initiate most of your web searches from the Chrome browser's address bar, you can make a simple change that will direct all of your queries to Google's web search tab, no extension required.

1. Navigate to chrome://settings/searchEngines in Chrome or click Settings->Search Engine->Manage search engines and site search.

navigate to chrome://settings/searchEngines

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Click the Add button next to Site search.

click the add button

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A dialog box appears, allowing you to create a new "site search" entry.

3. Fill in the fields in the dialog box as follows then click Add.

  • Name: Google (Web)
  • Shortcut: google.com
  • URL: {google:baseURL}/search?udm=14&q=%s

Add site search settings

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Select "Make default" from the three-dot menu next to your new entry.

select Make default

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Google (Web) engine will now appear on the Search engines list. When you enter a query in the address bar, it will direct you straight to the Web tab on Google. The real secret is that the search engine we created adds the parameter ?udm=14 to the search query.

How to block Google AI overviews on Android / iOS

While Google Chrome for the desktop makes it easy to change your address bar search or install extensions, Chrome for the phone is a different story. On Chrome for Android and iOS, you can't use extensions at all, and you can't manually enter in your own custom search engine (you can on Firefox).

Yes, you can select a custom search engine, but it has to be an existing engine on the Internet you've visited; you can't manually type in a search URL and, therefore, can't add the all-important ?udm=14 to the query string on your own. The good news: a site called tenbluelinks.org has created a solution. When you visit the site, it references an XML file that follows the OpenSearch format, telling your browser to add an engine called Google Web to your settings menu. 

Here's how to do it in Chrome or Edge. Safari won't work.

1. Navigate to tenbluelinks.org The page looks like a normal page but has the HTML <link href="/opensearch.xml" rel="search" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" title="Google Web"/> in its header.

2. Open a new tab and use it to search Google.com.

3. Go to your Settings Search menu. On Chrome, it's at Settings->Search engine and, on Edge, it's at Settings->General->Select search engine.

Select Search Engine in Chrome Settings

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Select Google Web from the list.

Select Search Engine in Chrome Settings

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Your browser will now search google.com/search?udm=14&q=[term] from your address bar. It will be sending these queries directly to Google. They will not pass through tenbluelinks.org and you will not have to visit that site again.

How to hide Google AI in mobile Firefox

Mobile Firefox, available for iOS and Android, does have the capability to enter a custom engine manually. Here's how to use it.

1. Install Firefox on your phone if you don't have it already.

2. Navigate to Settings.

navigate to settings

(Image credit: Future)

3. Tap Search.

tap search

(Image credit: Future)

4. Tap Default Search Engine 

tap default engine

(Image credit: Future)

5. Tap Add search engine.

tap add search engine

(Image credit: Future)

6. Fill out the fields as follows and then click Save.

  • Name: Google (Web)
  • Search string URL: google.com/search?udm=14&q=%s

add search engine

(Image credit: Future)

7. Select Google (Web) from the menu. 

select Google (Web)

(Image credit: Future)

Now, when you search from Firefox's address bar, you'll get the Google web tab.  

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.