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November 29, 2008

More Ways to Hide Google SearchWiki

In a recent interview with Cedric Dupont, product manager for Google SearchWiki, we found that Google doesn't intend to provide an option to disable SearchWiki. "While users don't have the option of turning off SearchWiki, they do have the option not to use the feature. By turning off the feature entirely, people will never get used to the new offering or see how it might be useful to them. We encourage people to try it out."

Fortunately, there are some ways to hide SearchWiki's visual clutter:

1. Sign out from your Google account. The feature is only available to authenticated users since it's a way to customize search results.

2. Use a Greasemonkey script that hides the icons added by SearchWiki.

3. To disable SearchWiki for the current session, add "&hl=all" to the URL of a search results page. Unfortunately, the change is not permanent. Example:

4. If you enable any Google Experimental feature except "SearchWiki with sound", you'll no longer see Google SearchWiki. Probably the most useful experiment you can enable is "Keyboard shortcuts", which adds shortcuts to Google search. Joining an experiment changes your Google cookie, so the experiment is enabled in the current browser and only until you delete Google's cookie.

SearchWiki aficionados can enable "SearchWiki with sound" to hear a sound effect when a search result is removed. "Do you enjoy having the power to remove results from your search results pages? Now you can do so in style by having a sound effect play along with the animation whenever you remove a result. Recorded by our co-founder Sergey Brin himself, this sound effect is sure to please!"

Update: You can now disable SearchWiki from Google's preferences page.


  1. the problem with the &h1 option it disable some of the other top navigation like news, maps, and blog search. I use the stylish one myself.

  2. I dun need to disable anything. It just doesn't appear on my interface since day One.

  3. SearchWiki feature doesnt appear for me as well. I guess the feature is enabled to only few google accounts. Maybe based on geographical location. I am from India and I do not see SearchWiki enabled for me. I checked even my google account settings and search preferences, but not find a way to enable. Irony!! your article explains ways to disable the feature :)

  4. @Mohasin:
    It's only available at, usually perceived as the US version of Google. SearchWiki hasn't been enabled in the localized versions of Google.

  5. @ Alex Chitu: Hey, Thanx for the info.

  6. i have searchwiki and i don't see what is the big deal in being there - if i don't want to use it i don't use it - get a friking life

  7. I wonder why Google, which in the past has been quite careful about making changes to its UI, is not even considering an option to remove this feature.

    I personally hate SearchWiki; it's very distracting to the search results.

  8. Seems like the main interest I see in SearchWiki is how to get rid of it. Maybe a message there...

  9. @Eric:
    SearchWiki is a good idea, but I don't like to see 30 new icons next to the search results. The now-defunct SearchMash used a more subtle implementation: dragging&dropping the results.

    See a demo of SearchMash's initial version (2 years ago).

  10. Here's another way which I discovered while fiddling with the Firefox Useragent string.

    When I changed my useragent string to
    "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en-US) Gecko/rv:; Firefox/3.0.4", the searchwiki features disappeared from Google (yet Gmail still worked fine.)

    When reverting the position of the 'rv:' text into the brackets to read "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en-US; rv: Gecko; Firefox/3.0.4" they reappeared.

  11. I don't mind Google SearchWiki. But I don't mind hiding it either if someone doesn't like it. :)

  12. Another subtle UI for SearchWiki would enable the icons when you hover over a results. Yahoo adds some icons next to the enhanced video results.

  13. DucTape InnovationsNovember 30, 2008 at 8:47 AM

    I really don't mind this feature, although I never use it. One thing I sometimes do is search for my site ( on Google with duct tape and see what page it's on, and if I used search wiki it would be inaccurate. I may use it for other searches.

  14. I had an issue with SearchWiki at

    NO clue now. I did clear the cookies and well, no SearchWiki for this account...

    Any other clues Alex?


  15. to: DucTape
    try using to find where your page ranks in google (and other SE's)
    just read about it on

  16. I, not only don't mind, but, like SearchWiki.
    There might be things done to make it "less" distracting", although the light gray is quite light as to not be distracting. The hovering icons idea is nice but can be a problem, it may be better if there were a toggle, in which case when you want to edit the results you hit the "Edit this search" button and go about shuffling the results, otherwise you proceed as if there's nothing different.

  17. I am familiar with the idea that users just "get used to" new services, but in this case I simply cannot see myself 'promoting' websites up the rankings.
    I mean what is the use-case for this? I assume it is : Searches that we do repeatedly, and wish to re-order the results so that our prefered results are at the top, yes?
    So can someone explain why we don't just make a bookmark folder and store the favoured results of this repeated search?
    And why would we want to stop ourselves finding NEW listings and stick with a pre-conceived notion of what the best results are?

    This seems like going to the doctor with a headache, being prescribed aspirin and then next time I visit the doctor with a headache I just say to him "give me aspirin, that's my preferred outcome". Just perhaps I need something else this time, just perhaps that's why I went to the doctor in the first place?
    For some advice?
    If I want to know what I already know, then I will ask myself!