How to Switch Chrome’s Default Search to International Google

By Erez Zukerman on March 10th, 2011


Google Chrome’s default search engine is Google. This makes perfect sense; the only problem is that it uses localized Google – for example, Google France or Google Israel. This impacts the interface language, and sometimes even the text orientation. Here’s how you can fix this and get “international” Google results with an English interface.

First, we need to figure out what search query we’re going to use. Go to and execute a simple query for a single word – say “cats”. If you get real-time results, hit Enter so that the address bar updates with the query URL. It should look something like this:,or.&fp=369c8973645261b8

If you wish to customize your search further, click Advanced Search. For example, I would like Google to annotate results with the reading level they require, so I can see what’s going to be difficult to read:


Whatever you change, remember this is going to be your default search from now on – so don’t select specify specifically about “cats”. Once you finish tweaking the advanced options, click Advanced Search. We now have a new string in the address bar:

Now copy this string someplace safe (such as a text editor), right-click Chrome’s address bar and click Edit search engines.


Chrome would not let us edit the default built-in search engine, so we simply created a new one and made it the default. Click Add to add a new search engine.


Under Name, write down anything you like – “Custom Google Search” or anything that seems appropriate. Chrome also makes you specify a keyword; it doesn’t really matter what keyword you specify because we’ll be making this your default search.

After specifying a name and a keyword, paste your search string into the URL field.


The next step, as Chrome helpfully points out, is to locate the word “cats” in our search string and replace it with a special token, %s. This token will be replaced by whatever we search for.


Once that’s done, click OK. Your new search engine should appear at the bottom of the big list of search engines. Make sure it’s selected and click Make Default.

That’s it! From now on, whenever you enter a search directly into Chrome’s address bar, you will be taken to your own customized search page.

A technical writer for Tibbo Technology by day, Erez is obsessed with customizing anything and everything. After years of using Litestep and Blackbox, switching to a custom keyboard layout (Colemak), extending Word and Excel with elaborate VBA, losing weight with an AutoHotkey script he developed and spending countless hours tweaking Foobar2000 to get it to look "just right", Erez decided the time has come to share some of this obsession with the world at large.

  • Published 03/10/11
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