Google’s New Flag Lets You Enable A Real Search Box In Chrome’s New Tab Page

Despite the fact that Google Chrome is a popular browser used by billions of people around the world, it still suffers from some major issues. Several people have noticed the fake search box that appears on Chrome’s New Tab page. It’s strange that the search field is just a dummy and it doesn’t perform any search functionality.

Notably, the fake search field was introduced on the New Tab page back in 2012. However, many Chrome users were disappointed to see that the search box doesn’t return any search results. Thus, some users filed two bug reports [1, 2] to highlight the issue.

One of the users suggested, “NTP searchbox should work like an input (not “focus jump”, especially in full screen)”. On the other hand, the search box that we see on the Bing Search page works just fine.

Google has been working to come up with a viable solution to resolve this issue for months. Now it seems like the company has finally shipped a new flag in Chrome 79. Google appears to be testing a new flag that lets you enable a real search box in the browser’s NTP.

real search box chrome
Real search box in New Tab Page

However, the functionality only works if you have selected Google Search as the default search provider in your browser settings.

Steps To Enable Real Search Box In Google Chrome

If you want to enable the “real” search box in your browser, you need to follow a couple of steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome and type chrome://flags/ in your address bar to open Chrome’s flag page.
  2. Now use the search box to find the flag “Real search box in New Tab Page“.
  3. Alternatively, you can directly jump to the flag by typing chrome://flags/#ntp-realbox.
  4. The status of the flag is set to Default, use the drop-down menu to change the status to Enabled.
  5. At this point, you should restart the browser to apply the new settings.

Once you open the browser again, open a New Tab page. Now start typing in the field, you will notice that the search box is now working on its own. Moreover, Chrome is no longer redirecting the search to the address bar.

Do you think that the real search box in Chrome is better than the fake one? Share your preferences in the comments section below.


Alex Schoff

Alex is a technology reporter with a particular interest in Microsoft and Windows. He keeps a close eye on major developments related to Windows 10, Google Chrome, Office 365, and more.
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