How To Switch Off Google’s Search Preview

Google recently seem to have a habit of adding new “exciting” features to their search results with so much as asking their users first.

The latest in this barrage of maybe helpful/almost certainly irritating ideas is the search preview. The little magnifying glass that pops up a preview of the website whenever you move your mouse even vaguely close to it.

So, if that bugs you and you’re perfectly happy clicking on the results link to see what the page looks like (and more importantly, says), what can you do?

The easiest option is to change your default search engine. Bing and Yahoo aren’t much different from Google in the results they deliver. And with Internet Explorer or Chrome, that’s probably the only option you’ve got. Google think this new feature is so cool, they don’t give you the option to permanently get rid of it.

If you use Firefox, there’s another option. It’s a bit of a pain to set up but once you’ve done it, those annoying search previews are banished forever. So you’re only waiting for the next “let’s see how much we can irritate our customers” feature that Google decides you absolutely must have.

Go to the Tools menu in Firefox and select the Add-ons option.

Click the button that says “Get Add-ons” and in the search box, enter:

AdBlock Plus

Select it and allow Firefox to install it. I also allowed Firefox to restart as soon as it was installed – not sure if that’s absolutely necessary but the second Add-on you need uses AdBlock Plus so better safe than sorry.

Once you’ve done that the other Add-on you need is:

Element Hiding Helper for AdBlock Plus

(I haven’t put links in for these as in the past I’ve found that links to Add-ons change over time as new versions appear, so it’s just easier to let Firefox handle all that).

Again, restart Firefox.

Then get up a Google search. Press Ctrl-Shift-K and hover over anything you find annoying such as the new “helpful” search preview feature. Click on it – I had to make sure it was only the magnifying glass, not the whole of the search result that was highlighted, which might explain why the darned preview thing was popping up whenever I breathed.

Press “Add Element Hiding Rule” from the menu that appears and you’re done. Back to search results as you expected them to be before some over-eager boffin thought otherwise.