Chromium prohibits users from deleting the built-in search engine, which brings new “troubles” to developers. Follow up: “this function will be restored in chrome 98 / 99”


Recently, foreign media reported that Google chromium 97 “deleted” the option of the default search engine in its latest update, which caused some controversy.

As we all know, browsers usually have a default search engine and many other built-in search engines. If the built-in search engine cannot meet the needs, you can also replace or manually add other search engines. If, for some reason, users do not want to use these search engines in their browsers, they can remove them from their settings.

The deletion of this option in chromium 97 means that chrome based browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft edge, Vivaldi and brave will no longer have the option to “delete” these default search engines after upgrading to chrome 97.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the “delete” option has disappeared from chromium, while the “set as default” and “Edit” options remain. The reason for this change is that developers believe that removing this feature is more beneficial to end users.

It is reported that as early as October 2021, chromium developer Justin donnolley launched a proposal to remove the “delete” button:

“Currently, you can delete a pre-populated search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, Baidu) in 2 clicks. Doing so is irrecoverably destructive because, even if you’re knowledgeable enough to use the Add dialog to recreate a pre-populated entry, you can’t set the suggest, new tab page, or other specialized URLs.
Deleting these should either be more difficult (confirmation dialog) or impossible (no delete option in the menu). My strong preference is to do the latter.”

In other words, users can delete pre filled search engines (such as Google, Bing and Baidu) with only two clicks. This is irreparably destructive, because even if the user has enough knowledge to recreate the pre populated entries using the add dialog box, he cannot set the suggestions, new tab page, or other dedicated URLs.

Since deleting these options may be more difficult (confirmation dialog box) or impossible (there is no delete option in the menu), he strongly recommends that users choose the latter.

So far, only Vivaldi browser retains the option to delete the search engine in the latest version 2549.3 (skip chrome 97 and use 98). If users still use chrome 96 based browser, they can also delete the search engine.

Although the developer’s change may be for good, some users complain about the new problem caused by this problem – the problem that the browser automatically changes the default search engine set by users to other services.

On the chrome forum, a user named Filipa Nunes “complained” that because the search engine cannot be deleted now, no matter how he sets it, the default search engine will automatically switch to Yahoo. In addition to this user, many other users in the same thread have encountered problems similar to him.

After understanding these problems, chromium developer Justin donnolley said:

“I didn’t realise that users were using ‘delete’ as a solution and I apologise for the trouble users have had as a result. We are working on a solution to the problem of people’s default search engine being changed for no apparent reason. In the meantime, I’m bringing back the ‘Delete’ option in the UI. It should be added back in Chrome 98 or 99 (released in early February and early March respectively).”

He said he had not realized that users using “delete” as a solution would cause these problems, and apologized for the trouble users encountered. He said that efforts are being made to solve the problem that the user’s default search engine has been changed for no reason. At the same time, the “delete” option will be restored in the UI in the future, or it will be returned in chrome 98 or 99 (released in early February and early March respectively).