Chrome puts Google Search results in Side Panel on Windows

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After the Chrome OS, Google is working to bring the Side search feature to Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux for you to easily compare search results in the side panel and view the page at the same time. The feature resembles Edge’s Sidebar Search and reminds you about Side Panel Chrome already has. Dive in for more information on enabling and exploring the feature in the Chrome browser for Windows.

What is Side search?

Last year, Google announced it is conducting an experiment in Chrome OS with Side Panel that helps users to easily compare search results.

The feature allows to “view a page and search results at the same time” and avoids the need to “navigate back and forth or lose search results”.

The company has said it will broaden the experiment to other Platforms in the future. The Side search is now available for testing in Chrome Canary on Windows.

Chrome Side Search with Google Search results displayed in side panel on right side

How to enable Side search in Chrome on Windows

  1. Open Chrome browser
  2. Visit chrome://flags
  3. Find Side search and Side Search DSE  support, in the dropdown next to each select “Enabled” and restart the browser.
    Side search flag
    Side Search DSE support flag

Note: You should be using Google as the default Search engine in Chrome for this. With the “Side search DSE support” flag, you should expect default search engines participating in the experiment to work, but that’s not the case with Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other SEs as of now.

Using Google Side search in Chrome

  1. Search for something in Omnibox like you generally do
  2. Click on any one of the search results, side Search icon appears before the Share menu button in the address bar.
    option in address bar to open search in side panel
  3. Clicking on it opens the results in Side Panel on the right side.
  4. Each click in the SERP in the side panel on the right displays the page in the same tab while Side Panel is pinned and stays permanent.

To close the Side Panel, click on the x icon, this closes the  Side search.panel.

Edge Sidebar Search vs Chrome Side search

Microsoft Edge with Sidebar Search displays Search results in Sidebar on the right side when you select the context menu option for the selected text or phrase. The feature supports images also.

Chrome’s Side search also displays search results on the side panel on the right side.

Edge Sidebar search and Chrome side Search in one frame

You need to perform a search from the address bar in Chrome and then you must click on one link for the Side Search button to show up to see the results in the side Panel. This may not sound intuitive at all from a user perspective.

Keep in mind the feature is still an experiment., may or may not make into stable like other flags.

Final words:

Google has borrowed one feature (Bing Sidebar Search) from the new Microsoft Edge browser and is testing right now for Chrome on Windows and other platforms after Chrome OS. The feature aims to easily compare search results and view the page in the same window without opening multiple tabs or switching between tabs or losing search results.

The feature is currently available in Chrome 101 Canary for testing on the Windows Platform. Give it a go and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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