Home Banish Google’s batty AI from searches with the ‘udm=14’ trick

Banish Google’s batty AI from searches with the ‘udm=14’ trick


  • Hacks available to revert Google's AI search default.
  • Appending "&udm=14" to search URL removes AI responses, restoring blue links.
  • Proxy sites or search shortcuts offer alternatives, but no default setting exists.

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 disens***tification 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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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

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