Manage Chromebook Search Engines and Google Voice

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Although Google holds a lion's share of the market, there are plenty of viable alternatives available when it comes to search engines. And although Chromebooks run on the company's own operating system, they still provide the ability to utilize a different option when it comes to searching the Web.

The default search engine used by the Chrome browser on Chrome OS is, to no surprise, Google. This default option is utilized any time you initiate a search from the browser's address bar, also known as the Omnibox. Managing Chrome OS's search engines can be done through its browser settings, and this tutorial walks you through the process. We also detail Google's voice search feature and explain how to use it.

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Chrome Settings

If your Chrome browser is already open, click on the Chrome menu button -- represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, click on Settings.

If your Chrome browser is not already open, the Settings interface can also be accessed via Chrome's taskbar menu, located in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.

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Change Default Search Engine

chromebook default search engine

 Scott Orgera

Chrome OS's Settings interface should now be displayed. Scroll down until you locate the Search section. The first item found in this section is a drop-down menu, containing the following options: Google (default), Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, AOL. To change Chrome's default browser, select the desired option from this menu.

You are not limited to using these five choices, however, as Chrome allows you to set other search engines as your default. To do so, first click on the Manage search engines button. You should now see the Search engines pop-up window, shown in the example above, containing two sections: Default search settings and Other search engines. When you hover your mouse cursor over any of the options shown in either section, you'll notice that a blue and white Make default button appears. Selecting this will immediately set this search engine as the default option, and will also add it to the drop-down list described in the previous paragraph -- if it is not already there.

To completely remove a search engine from the default list, or from the Other search engines section, hover your mouse cursor over it and click on the "x" -- shown to the far right of its name. Please note that you cannot delete whichever search engine is currently set as the default.

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Add a New Search Engine

chromebook add search engine

 Scott Orgera

The options found in the Other search engines section are typically stored there whenever you visit a website that contains its own internal search mechanism. In addition to these, you can also manually add a new search engine to Chrome by taking the following steps.

First, return to the Search engines window if you are not already there. Next, scroll to the bottom until you see the edit fields highlighted in the screenshot above. In the field labeled Add a new search engine, enter the name of the search engine. The value entered in this field is arbitrary, in the sense that you can name your new entry whatever you wish. Next, in the Keyword field, enter the search engine's domain (i.e., Finally, enter the full URL in the third edit field -- replacing where the actual keyword query would go with the following characters: %s

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Chrome Voice Search

chromebook voice search

Scott Orgera 

Chrome's voice search feature allows you to perform a number of actions in the browser itself as well as in Chrome OS's App Launcher without using your keyboard or mouse. The first step to being able to use voice search is to configure a working microphone. Some Chromebooks have built-in mics, while others require an external device.

Next, you'll need to enable the feature by first returning to Chrome's Search settings -- detailed in Step 2 of this tutorial. Once there, place a check mark next to the option labeled Enable "Ok Google" to start a voice search by clicking on its accompanying checkbox once.

You are now ready to use the voice search feature, which can be activated in Chrome's New Tab window, on or in the App Launcher interface. To initiate a voice search, first speak the words Ok Google into the microphone. Next, say what you are looking for (i.e., How do I clear browsing history?), and let Chrome do the rest.