One of the best things about Google’s Chrome Web browser is that it allows you to search by typing keywords into the URL bar however, right now, large numbers of users from across the world are experiencing issues with the feature that has come to be habitual for them.
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Comments within an active threat on the Chrome Product Forum explain the issue in detail. The problem appears to be affecting those on Macs and PCs alike.
One user — ‘thefoxbox’ — writes:
I’m being sent to a blank page, like this, about 50% of the time within the last 20 minutes of searching:
I looked up blank.html and I’m at home on my own network so it shouldn’t be any sort of corporate/public Wi-Fi redirect.
Comments on Twitter show that the issue is affecting other users and, worryingly for the search giant, some have been seeing problems for a number of hours, while TNW staffers have been having problems for most of the day (US time):
Anyone else seeing odd blank.html pages showing up in google results path when you search in Chrome?
— Chris O’Rourke (@chrisorourke) July 3, 2012
Anyone else having issues doing a Google search from the top bar in Chrome?
— Sean Herron (@seanherron) July 3, 2012
Is it just me or searching through omnibar on Google Chrome is broken? I am being redirected to a blank page for all searches.
— Vikas SN (@tsuvik) July 3, 2012
As a quick fix, the problem can be circumvented by switching off instant results, which can be done by visiting the option panels here. While a comment on Hacker News suggests clearing the browser search history.
We’ve reached out to Google for clarification of what’s happening. A Google spokesperson has confirmed that the company is looking into the issue [updated below.]
Chrome overtook Internet Explorer to become the Web’s most used browser last month, according to Statcounter, and Google recently revealed that Chrome is now serving 310 million active users, after doubling that figure over the last year.
Update: Thanks to Brian Glasshouse for providing the following tip (which is also on Hacker News) via Google+. We have tweaked the solution slightly thanks to a comment from Chrome team member Peter Kasting.
Problem: When submitting a search with in the address bar (Omnibox) in Chrome, you are automatically redirected to a blank page and no results are displayed.
Solution: Click the wrench icon and navigate to “Settings.” Under the Search section, click “Manage Search Engines” and do the following:
1. Create an alternative Google search option from Other Search Engines (call it Google2 or something), but in the URL section type “https://www.google.com/search?q=%s”
2. Make the new Google option the default option, ensuring that the old identifier still exists.
3. Use this option until Google fixes the issue (we will update you when it does), it will restore all the functionality of the Omnibox and other features that the temporary solution doesn’t provide.
And presto! Everything should be working fine, and you don’t even need to restart the browser.
Update 2: Google has confirmed that the issue has been fixed for most users but it is unclear exactly why the error occurred. A spokesperson gave us the following comment:
The issue that was affecting search in Chrome should be resolved for most users. The next order of business is figuring out the cause, and making sure it doesn’t happen again. Thanks for hanging with us through the rough patch.