When Chrome’s search predictions stop working…

I had been experiencing this problem recently where I would no longer get search suggestions in Chrome’s omnibar.  The type of completion that was not working was the one where you might type ‘great’ and be offered ‘great wall of China’, and not a suggestion from your bookmarks or history.  Note that this solution is based on using Google as your search engine although others may work similarly.

My best guess is that the culprit is Chrome sync, which is a great service but also managed to completely munge my search suggestions.  This may have happened after I did some traveling and Chrome decided to update my search settings based on locale.

If you are facing a similar problem then head into Chrome’s settings and firstly check that:

  • Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar under advanced settings is checked
  • ‘Google (default)’ under ‘Manage search engines -> Default search settings’ is like this:
    • {google:baseURL}search?q=%s&{google:RLZ}{google:acceptedSuggestion}{google:originalQueryForSuggestion}{google:assistedQueryStats}{google:searchFieldtrialParameter}{google:searchClient}{google:sourceId}{google:instantExtendedEnabledParameter}ie={inputEncoding}

In my case the URL format had ended up being quite hardcoded to something like this: http://google.com/search?q=%s’ which caused the search suggestions to fail to show.

Do note that if you fear Chrome has munged your settings beyond repair that you can completely clear all the synched data here.  Hopefully it won’t come to that!

5 thoughts on “When Chrome’s search predictions stop working…

  1. I am just embarrassed that as a freaking software engineer I tolerated this issue for years and wasn’t able to find this post that is 4 years old! I did try to search for the solution but never got to your post before. Anyway, THANKS! Jeez! I was contemplating digital suicide over this. Fixed at last.

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