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Banish Google’s batty AI from searches with the ‘udm=14’ trick Banish Google’s batty AI from searches with the ‘udm=14’ trick
For those alienated by Google’s new AI search, especially the fact it’s now the default option, with no means of turning it off, there... Banish Google’s batty AI from searches with the ‘udm=14’ trick



For those alienated by Google’s new AI search, especially the fact it’s now the default option, with no means of turning it off, there are hacks or workarounds to get it off the page and get you back to browsing links to pages, written by humans, telling you what you really want to know.

Loosely described as the “udm=14” trick, Ars Technica over the weekend showed how it works. More or less, tacking on “&udm=14” to the end of your search will guarantee that you get a clean interface with nothing but blue hyperlinks, instead of batty answers to common questions about fixing flat tires, jumping a car battery, or making the perfect grilled cheese.

Unfortunately, you have to do this every time. There’s no way to set that as a default option. An alternative is to use a proxy site like udm14.com — which proudly describes itself as “the disenshittification Konami code.”

Moreover, “&udm=14” takes you back to Google as it looked roughly a decade ago, before it introduced so-called “knowledge panels” for certain types of queries, which some also find obtrusive and distracting. This “Web” filter was announced by Google itself about two weeks ago, during the Google I/O event.

The X post seems to acknowledge that not everyone is happy to have whatever this so-called improvement is dumped on their desktop when all they’re asking for is the launch date of Destiny 2: The Final Shape (June 4, for the record) or Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree (June 21).

Of course the most convenient thing to do would be to make this a default setting somewhere in Google’s ever-expanding “Tools” menu, but since every new project must justify itself with a number of users, or queries served, or both, no way they’re going to do that.

Drawbacks to using the udm=14 trick

One drawback to a proxy like udm14.com is that it could, if it chose to, read all of your search results and queries, which opens up questions of trust. That’s up to you, although the manner in which udm14.com bills itself suggests they’re not interested in that, and are doing this as a public service for likeminded folks fed up with Google’s feature creep. Still, it’s out there.

Ars also advises simply creating a new search shortcut using Google’s URL with the &udm=14 already fixed in the URL. Instructions for doing so are in the link. Still, “you’re still going to be using a search engine that feels like it has completely surrendered to SEO spammers,” they write.

The fact of the matter is, if Google’s shift to AI — and that is a massive shift, given how the company dominates search and advertising — leaves you cold, the better alternative is to use another search engine altogether.

Featuered image via Ideogram





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