Search settings

Why use your search settings?

In this lesson, we're going to be talking about how to customize Google Search for you.

You can tell Google how you want it to operate when you search by specifying your Search settings. To save your settings, you must be

logged in with your Google or Gmail account. Once you have saved your Search settings in your account, they follow you to any computer where you log in. You will only need to set them once.

How do you change your search settings?

Step 1.  Check to make sure that you are logged into your Google or Gmail account.

Figure 1: You will know that you are logged in to your account when you see your name and your picture (if you uploaded one) in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Step 2. Run a simple search to get to the results page, and look for the gear icon  in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Click on the gear icon.

Figure 2: The button with the gear icon on it triggers a menu that includes Search settings.

Step 3. A drop down menu will appear under the gear icon. Click on Search settings.

Figure 3: Click on Search settings.

What options do you have in Search settings?

You will be taken to the Search settings page, where you can make individual choices about a number of different features that impact the way you see your search results.

Figure 4: The Search settings page

SafeSearch filters

Many users prefer not to have adult content included in their search results (especially if kids use the same computer). SafeSearch filters provide you with the ability to change your browser setting to prevent adult content from appearing in your search results. No filter is 100 percent accurate, but SafeSearch should help you avoid most of this type of material. More information.

Google Instant predictions

Select when you want Google to show you results as you type, whether you want them all the time, never, or only when your computer is fast enough.

Results per page

When you turn off Google Instant, you have the option of deciding how many results you want to see per page. When Instant is on, you always see up to ten results per page in order to get your results to you quickly. However, when you do not use instant you can select to see up to 100 results at once.

If you want to skim many results very quickly, or use Control-F to find occurrences of certain words within the results page, it can be helpful to view a higher number of results at once.

Personal results

When you search on Google, you can see search results from the public web along with pages, photos, and Google+ posts from your friends. For example, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, and you search for [ Florence ] on Google, you may see photos or articles from your friends about Florence in your search results. More information.

Where results open

Check this box if you want each result you click on to open in a new browser window.

Block unwanted results

Sometimes, a website comes up in your results which does not appeal to you for some reason. If that happens, Search settings give you the ability to block specific sites from appearing in your results. You can also manage your blocked sitesMore information.

Search history

Your search history, covered elsewhere in this course, keeps track of the searches you have run and the results you visited. This tool allows you to go back and search through your past activities in Google search, when you remember a page you visited, but cannot find it.

You can turn off or edit your search history at any time.


Go to your Search settings page and explore your options. Are your settings the way you want them? If you have not enabled web history, consider doing so for the duration of this class.Forum.


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