If you are a regular user of Chrome, you know all too well when its bent towards helping you do things automatically turns into a frustrating mess. Auto-fill passwords and addresses can be a massive time saver, but they can also become insanely frustrating when you have one too many auto-fills saved and every form entry becomes a nightmare of auto-filled chaos.
Today’s little trick won’t help with that unfortunately, but it will help with the same issue that rears its head with the Chrome or Chrome OS omnibar. The omnibar in Chrome is the URL bar but on steroids. It allows for instant Google searches, app searches, and bookmarking all in one place. With all that power, the omnibar is still basically just a URL address bar with fancy tricks up its sleeve.
One of those tricks is the ability to remember places you tend to frequent on the web. For instance, when I type “chrome,” Chrome immediately offers up a handful of great suggestions. Chrome Unboxed comes up as does the admin area for our site, but I also get a quick shortcut to our Facebook page and a link to Chrome Story. These are all sites I frequent, so this feature feels helpful and useful to me on a regular basis.
There are times, however, when certain URLs get saved up there and they really throw a wrench in my productivity. A perfect example of this is when I go to navigate to the Google Search Console. There are other tools embedded in the Search Console, and after using a few of them a few times, Chrome decided those would be the better options to show me when I type “search” into the omnibar. I used to always have the URL for the main Search Console appear in that place, so my habit has evolved into typing “search,” hitting enter, and expecting to be taken to the search console.
With this new URL showing up in the top spot, however, I constantly end up clicking through to the Structured Data Testing Tool by accident, even though I’ve only used that URL a handful of times. What I want is to get rid of that result, but the process for that has been pretty convoluted up until now. For most users, SHIFT + DEL would remove a suggested entry, but the absence of a delete key on a Chromebook means I don’t actually know how to delete these suggestions on my device. And upon testing this on our Mac, I couldn’t actually get the keyboard shortcut to work either.
There is now a working, simple fix for this frustration. Techdows spotted a wonderful trick in the Canary channel of Chrome back in October, but now it is down in the Stable Channel where many of us can take advantage of it. Simply navigate over to chrome://flags/#omnibox-suggestion-transparency-options and enable the flag. After a reset, you’ll now have the option to simply click a small “X” to the right of any URL suggestion in the omnibar to remove it as a quick suggestion moving forward. No shortcuts, no keyboards, no weird settings. This is what most users will be looking for when wanting to remove a suggested URL, so I’m hopeful this implementation will be a normal part of Chrome by the next update.
Why it has taken so long to put this in place is a complete and utter mystery to me. The bug for this feature is over 10 years old and is just now being addressed. I’m not really concerned, however, as I’m just happy about the ability to clean up my omnibar for situations where suggestions get added that I truly don’t need. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some cleaning up to do on my Chromebook.