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How To Disable or Improve Google’s Google+ Integration

If you’ve used Google lately, you’ve probably seen Google+ taking over Google’s search results. You don’t have to put up with it — you can disable the integration, show better social-networking pages or hide those pesky Google+ notifications.

The Google+ integration, also known as “Search, plus Your World” or personalized search results, takes a few forms. It doesn’t only show personalized content — it also presents popular Google+ pages, even if you’re not logged in.

Disabling Personalized Search

Perform some searches in Google and you’ll probably end up seeing Google+ content.

You could click the “Hide Personal Results” icon, but you’d still see personalized search results each time you opened your browser and performed a Google search.

You can disable it permanently from Google’s “Search Settings” screen.

Click “Do Not Use Personal Results” on the page.

Click the Save button to save your settings. If you’ve disabled cookies in your web browser, you’ll need to enable them or Google won’t remember your settings.

Don’t Be Evil; Focus on the User

After you disable this, you’ll still see the “People and Pages on Google+” sidebar occasionally. It presents popular Google+ pages related to your query — but is the Google+ page really the best social-networking page?

A project called Focus on the User doesn’t think so. Instead of presenting you with only Google+ pages, it will present you with the best possible social-networking pages, whether they’re from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or elsewhere.

First, you’ll have to enable your bookmarks toolbar if it’s disabled. In Chrome, click the wrench menu, point to Bookmarks and select “Show Bookmarks Bar.” In Firefox, right-click the toolbar and select “Bookmarks Bar.”

Once you have, click the “Try a More Relevant Google” link on the Focus on the User page, then drag and drop the cheekily-named “don’t be evil” link onto your bookmarks bar.

Whenever you see Google+ results on Google, click the “don’t be evil” bookmarklet and make Google show the best social-networking pages.

Wondering how this works? The bookmarklet just scans through Google’s search results for the person and selects the social-networking page that appears highest in the search rankings. In other words, Google already knows the best social-networking pages, but it would rather push Google+.

Hiding Google+ Notifications

If you’ve signed up for a Google+ account, you’ve probably noticed the notifier following you all over Google.

Google doesn’t provide any way to disable it, but you can use a browser extension to hide it. Try the Hide Google+ Notification extension for Chrome or the Google Plus Notification Hider add-on for Firefox.

After you install the extension, you won’t be hassled with notifications unless you go to Google+ itself.

Embracing Google+

There’s another option to improve the Google+ integration — embracing Google+ itself. This makes your search results more, well, personal. For example, once you circle How-To Geek on Google+, you’ll see stuff How-To Geek has shared.


Like it or not, Google+ seems here to stay. Google users will have to learn to live with it, love it or at least work around it. There’s always Bing, though.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 02/16/12

Comments (9)

  1. walkerreuben

    I find that for searches, the easiest way to get non-personalised results is to simply open an incognito window. A quick Ctrl-Shift-N (In Google Chrome), and you’ve got unbiased results. I use it a lot to check the search result level for my site. (Which changes quite a bit for some keywords depending on whether I’m signed in or not.)

  2. fant0mas

    A quick addendum:

    If you are not using English as your default, global language for Google, then chances are that the “do not use personal results” option is not visible in your search settings (as it was the case for me when I had it set to German).

    You will have to change the global language for Google products then in the search settings (left hand side, select “Languages”.

    Maybe this is only still rolling out for other languages.

  3. superfahd

    I actually went one further and closed my Google+ account. Its not like I was using it anyway and nor were my friends. Now I get a cleaner and more relevant search result

  4. tommy2rs

    I’ve manged to get google search cleaned up but still switched over to duckduckgo. If I need google to find something it’s just a bang (!g) away.

  5. avalx

    Or you can use Startpage Search Engine (by Ixquick)!

  6. Chris Hoffman

    Incognito mode is a good trick. Still, you’ll occasionally see Google+ results in your search results, anyway. They’re pushing it hard.

  7. CttCJim

    I set english as my language and still don’t see the option to turn this thing off!

  8. Chris Hoffman

    Odd. Try going here: http://www.google.com/ncr

    This takes you straight to Google.com’s main US site. It won’t try to redirect you away.

  9. CttCJim

    that worked, thanks. guess google.ca is different.

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