Vanilla Google Search without AI is being sidelined into a menu

Arrows pointing to the Web filter in the More option in Google search results.

Following the controversial moves to have AI further encroach into Google Search, the company is now adding a way to remove those elements entirely from your results. In a thread on X (formerly Twitter), Google SearchLiaison announced a new filter called Web. The new filter option will only show old-school text-based links and is rolling out to users worldwide today and tomorrow. The filter works like any already available filter, such as images, videos — and, of course, the new AI Overviews.

The thread mentions words from Google Search liaison Danny Sullivan, “We’ve added this after hearing from some that there are times when they’d prefer to just see links to web pages in their search results, such as if they’re looking for longer-form text documents, using a device with limited internet access, or those who just prefer text-based results shown separately from search features. If you’re in that group, enjoy.”

We’ve launched a new “Web” filter that shows only text-based links, just like you might filter to show other types of results, such as images or videos. The filter appears on the top of the results page alongside other filters or as part of the “More” option, rolling out today…

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) May 14, 2024

The tech giant announced the option during its Google I/O 2024 event in the announcements about Search. For desktop users, the Web filter will be found either at the top of the search page or by selecting the More option to the right. However, mobile users will see the Web filter without having to dig into the More option for an easier find.

This new option will improve your search results and remove information that only gets in the way of what you’re looking for. AI-generated knowledge panels will also be removed, giving you direct access to the information you want to see. Even though you can’t disable the AI results, the Web filter will take you back to the simpler Google days when it was easier to Google.

We’ll have to wait and see if Google lets users set this filter as a preference for all future searches, but that seems highly unlikely given how much the company is pushing AI.

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