The latest and greatest version of Google Chrome makes changes that most people won’t likely notice, such as tweaks to how the browser loads pages and images. One feature that most folks will notice, however, is the images that pop up when you make searches in Chrome’s address bar, or “Omnibox.”
These new images can be a helpful visual aid for searches, though they only show up for certain types of searches, such as celebrity names, and are subject to certain copyright and privacy restrictions. But if you find these new images to be more annoying than useful, there are a couple of ways to turn them off in Chrome’s desktop version.
The easiest is to just swap to a different search engine entirely, since only Google results display images in the Omnibox. You can do this in your browser settings:
Click the three stacked dots icon, then click on “Settings.”
On the settings page, scroll down to “Search engine,” then click the drop-down box and select something that isn’t Google.
If you don’t see one listed that you want to use, the “Manage search engines” option lets you add or remove search engines—such as DuckDuckGo.
If you want to keep Google as your default search engine, however, you’ll need to tweak a Chrome flag to ditch the images.
In this case, we’re looking for the “Omnibox rich entity suggestions” flag (shout out to Ghacks for originally pointing it out). To get there:
Copy and paste chrome://flags/#omnibox-rich-entity-suggestions into Chrome’s address bar and hit Enter. This will take you directly to Chrome’s flags page, with “Omnibox rich entity suggestions” highlighted.
Click the drop-down box next to the flag, and set it to “disabled.”
Close and restart Chrome for the changes to take effect.
Google often adds and removes both features and flags from Chrome, so it’s possible that Omnibox images may come and go like numerous other ideas Google has tried.
It’s also possible that Google might remove the aforementioned flag, which would force everyone to see these Omnibox search images. (In other words, if this trick stops working, blame Google.)