How to Make Google Your Default Search Engine

Set Google as the default search engine in every major browser

Google search engine page with search results displayed on a computer monitor
Oleksiy Maksymenko / Getty Images

Making Google the default search engine lets you use Google.com for each of your web searches. If your web browser doesn't have Google set as the default search engine, then you might be using something else — Bing, Yahoo, etc. — each time you look something up on the internet.

Once you've set Google as the default search engine in your favorite browser, you can perform searches right there in the browser window without having to open the Google URL. For example, in most browsers, you can erase the URL or open a new tab, and then type whatever you want to search for on Google.

It's also common to change the home page your browser is using. In fact, you can even change the home page to be Google or any other search engine.

What Does Default Search Engine Mean?

When a web browser is first installed, it's pre-built with a specific search engine function so that when you do a web search, it uses that search engine versus something else.

Changing the default search engine is simply picking a different website to perform searches on. For example, if Bing or Yandex is the default search engine in your browser, you can change it to Google.

The default search engine is only relevant when you perform web searches from the browser's search bar. You can always visit the search engine URL manually to bypass the default search engine. For example, if after setting Google as the default searcher, you decide you want to use DuckDuckGo for something, just open that URL directly.

Change Chrome Search Engine to Google

Google is the default search engine in Google's browser, but if it's been changed to something else, you can pick a different search engine in Chrome through the Search engine option in the settings.

  1. Select the three-dotted menu from the upper-right side of the browser, and choose Settings.

    Google Chrome menu
  2. Scroll down to the Search engine section.

  3. Select the drop-down menu next to Search engine used in the address bar, and choose Google.

    Default search engine option in Chrome

Change Firefox Search Engine to Google

There's a Search area of this browser's settings that dictate which search engine Firefox uses. This is how you set Google as the default search engine.

  1. Press the menu button at the top right (the stacked lines), and choose Options.

    Firefox menu options
  2. Choose Search on the left.

    Firefox options screen
  3. Under Default Search Engine, select the menu and choose Google.

    Default search engine option in Firefox

Change Edge Search Engine to Google

Picking a different search engine for Edge works a little differently than it does in other browsers, but it's still really straightforward.

  1. Visit Google.com from the Edge browser. You need to do this so that Edge can understand how the search engine works and let you pick it from the settings below.

  2. Use the three-dotted menu at the top right of Edge to access Settings.

    Edge menu options
  3. Scroll down and select View advanced settings.

    Edge browser settings
  4. Scroll to the Privacy and services section and select Change search engine.

    Edge privacy and services setings
  5. Pick Google Search (discovered) from the list, and then select Set as default.

    Change search engine screen in the Edge browser



If Google is missing as a search engine option in Edge, exit the browser completely and then reopen it. Open Google again but this time do some searches and be sure to refresh the page a couple times, and then try the steps above once more.

Change Opera Search Engine to Google

You can change the search engine to Google in Opera from the Search engine page of the settings.

  1. Select the Opera logo at the top left, and then choose Settings.

    Opera menu options
  2. Scroll down to Search engine.

  3. Select the menu to the right and pick Google Search.

    Opera search engine options

Change Safari Search Engine to Google

The Safari search engine can be changed from the top of the program next to the URL bar. Just select the menu to the left of the search box and choose Google.

However, that only changes the search engine you're using for that specific search. Here's how to make Google the default search engine in Safari:

  1. Select the settings/gear icon from the upper-right side of the browser, and then select Preferences.

    Safari menu options in Windows

    If you're on a Mac, go to Safari > Preferences instead.

  2. For Windows users, open the General tab and select the menu next to Default search engine.

    For Mac users, go into the Search tab and open the menu next to Search engine.

  3. Choose Google.

    Default search engine option in Safari for Windows
    Safari in Windows.

Change Internet Explorer Search Engine to Google

You must add Google Search as a search engine option in Internet Explorer to use it from the browser.

  1. Select the arrow to the right of the search bar at the upper-right side of IE, and then choose Add.

  2. Locate Google Search and select Add just below it.

    Google Search IE gallery option
  3. Select Add again to confirm.

    Add Search Provider pop-up in Internet Explorer

    

  4. Return to the search bar at the top of Internet Explorer, and select the down arrow to find the Google Search option. You can do something similar from the navigation bar, too.

    Google Search option in the Internet Explorer search bar

An Alternative Method for IE

You can also make Google the default search engine in Internet Explorer so that you can search from the URL bar without having to manually pick the Google icon.

To do that, open the settings again but this time choose Manage add-ons. Select Search Providers on the left, Google on the right, and finally Set as default at the bottom.

Manage Add-ons screen in Internet Explorer

Does the Search Engine Keep Changing?

If the default search engine keeps changing even after you've followed the correct directions above, your computer might be infected with malware. Malicious programs can make unauthorized changes to your browser settings to install a different search engine, so the best way to quit the search engine settings from changing is to delete the malware.