Google Search Adds a ‘Web’ Filter to Show You Just Text Links

Google Search New Web Filter
Image Courtesy: Google (Edited By: Sagnik/Beebom)
In Short
  • Google Search has introduced a new 'Web' filter, which shows only text-based web links.
  • This allows Google Search users to filter out the clutter, including videos, discussions, and more to get a minimal experience.
  • Google says the new filter can be accessed via More -> Web when you make a search, but I think it should be more easily visible.

We saw Google unveil a whole lot of features and goodies at its I/O 2024 developer conference on May 14. Among all the AI chatter, Google Search received a valuable update that needs to be talked about. Remember the good old days when Search would only show you text-based links that actually mattered? Well, those days might be back as Google is dialing it back to the past with the addition of a new ‘Web’ filter in Google Search.

Google Search liason Danny Sullivan took to X to announce this new feature. And we are here to welcome it with open arms, given that it works as intended. I haven’t got access the feature yet, but an early look at it is giving me some high hopes.

In the X post, Sullivan lets us know that the filter appears at the very top of your search results page, alongside other filters like News, Videos, Shopping, and more. For some users, the ‘News’ filter will be visible right away, while some will have to click on More -> Web to access it, like this:

Image Courtesy: Google

Once you have activated this filter, your Search Results page will only include text-based web links (well, with ads, of course). In other words, from those annoying shopping panels to even the discussions or YouTube videos panel, the filter blocks everything out.

Most importantly, the new Web filter will also block out AI Overviews (previously known as Search Generative Experience). Google Spokesperson, Ned Adriance, confirmed to The Verge that,

AI Overviews are a feature in Search, just like a knowledge panel or a featured snippet, so they will not appear when someone uses the web filter for a search.

While the feature can’t keep Google’s bias towards its own website links at bay, it does eliminate the other garbage that pops up, giving you a significantly cleaner Search experience. Sean Hollister of The Verge was able to test the feature, and it certainly does look promising.

It comes at a great time as well, given that AI Overviews have been made available to everyone in the US now. Not to mention that Google Chrome’s new Gemini Nano integration is also going to further elevate your browsing experience on the desktop once it’s publicly available.

If you ask me, I’m all in for this AI opt-out feature (sort of) in Google Search, for I miss the user experience we had back in the day without being slapped with irrelevant content every single time. What about you? Are you excited about the new way of browsing with this very Google Search Web filter? Do let me know in the comments down below!

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