Chromium-based browsers lose ability to remove default search engines

Any browser that uses the open source Chromium web browser as its base will lose the ability to remove search engines from the default list that they include as part of the installation.

Whenever you install a new browser, it usually offers a list of search engines to choose from and set as default. In the past, you could remove all of these included engines. As Ghacks reports, a recent change to the Chromium browser prevented their removal. This change affects some of the most popular browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, Opera, and Vivaldi.

A proposal to remove, or at least make it more difficult, to remove search engines from the list was made in October last year. The reason for this is that it only took two clicks to achieve this, which is considered “irreparably destructive because, even if you are knowledgeable enough to use the Add dialog to recreate a pre-populated entry, you cannot set suggestion, new tab page, or other specialized URLs.”

Although a choice to make it harder or impossible was presented, it seems that the Chromium devs chose to make it impossible. Others in the proposal thread pointed out that removing the deletion “would solve more problems than it would create”.

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For users, this just means the list can only grow, but you’re unlikely to visit it more than once when setting up a new browser. Firefox users need not worry, of course, as Mozilla’s browser does not use Chromium and is therefore not impacted by this change. Firefox actually offers two options: remove search engines from the list or just hide them.

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Rosemary S. Bishop