Disabling AI Overviews

Unplug the AI: Tricks to Disable AI Overviews, Copilot, and More

by CrAIg Realhuman

As artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming omnipresent in our daily lives, people are finding clever ways to reclaim their digital spaces. From disabling intrusive AI overviews in search engines to bypassing paywalls and blocking targeted ads, individuals are actively resisting the encroachment of AI technologies.

This article explores the various methods for disabling invasive AI features with an emphasis on Google AI Overviews.

What are Google AI Overviews?

Google AI Overviews are designed to enhance search experiences by providing AI-generated summaries at the top of search results.

These overviews aim to give quick, concise answers to user queries, leveraging Google’s AI capabilities to synthesize information from multiple sources. While the intention behind AI Overviews is to streamline the search process, the implementation has not been without issues.

Public Perception

Initially, Google AI Overviews were pushed as the next big thing for their potential to simplify searches. However, users quickly grew frustrated due to inaccuracies and privacy concerns.

In many cases, AI-generated summaries provided misleading or incorrect information, leading to skepticism and resistance from users who prefer traditional search results.

Currently, AI Overviews are accurate 75% of the time, but this number is expected to improve with ongoing improvements.

AI Overviews are now shown for less than 15% of queries, down from 84% when they were first launched.

The vertical space (real estate) occupied by AI Overviews is now also 20% smaller than what SGE occupied at the beginning of April.

A 2023 Pew Research study found that 72% of Americans are worried about AI being used in ways that could infringe on privacy or lead to harmful decisions. This sentiment has only grown as AI technologies have become more pervasive.

Even though AI Overviews have been dialed back, some users still want to disable them completely and here’s how you can do this:

How to Disable Google AI Overviews

When trying to disable the AI Overviews in search, people have noticed that this isn’t an easy task. Google lists a rather complex process if you want to opt out of the Overviews feature, but I have found some interesting workarounds.

One effective method is using UDM parameters. By adding &udm=14 to the end of a search URL, users can revert to the traditional “10 blue links” format.

  • Step-by-Step Guide:
    1. Perform a Google search as usual.
    2. Append &udm=14 to the end of the search URL.
    3. Press Enter to reload the search results in the traditional format.

Tools like the UDM14 browser extension automate this process, and browser settings can be configured to always include the &udm=14 parameter in Google searches. This makes the process of disabling AI Overviews relatively simple for the average user.

So a normal Google search for the term “test search” will have a URL structure like this:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=test+search

All you have to do is append &udm=14 at the end like this:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=test+search&udm=14

And you will get the old, more reliable, and better-looking Google search that looks like this:

Google Search UDM

This new search will not only have no AI Overviews, but it will also have other features and widgets removed, so that the search is cleaner and you can find what you’re looking for. Make sure you append the &udm=14 parameter after the search is completed. Applying it on the Google homepage will lead to a 404.

A good thing about this parameter is that successive searches in the same Google window will keep the parameter. So for more extensive research, you will only need to add it to the first search URL you’re getting.

Of course, to make it even easier, someone created the UDM14 website. It is a very simple one page site that has the job of appending the UDM14 parameter to every search for you.

Here are a couple of other ways of making sure you don’t get AI Overviews for your Google searches:

Browser Extensions

Firefox: Install the udm14 add-on, which adds a Google search engine that includes the udm=14 parameter by default.

Chrome: Install the “Google UDM 14 Web search mode (no AI)” extension, which appends &udm=14 to every Google search.

Custom Search Engines

Firefox: Enable custom search engines, then create a new search shortcut called “Google Web” with the URL

https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&udm=14[4]

To add a custom search engine to Firefox, follow these steps:

  • Type about:config in the address bar.
  • Search for browser.urlbar.update2.engineAliasRefresh and set it to true.
  • Go to Settings > Search and click the “Add” button to add your custom search engine

If you’ve done everything right, you should end up with something like this:

Google Search UDM 1

Chrome: Right-click the address bar, select “Manage search engines”, and add a new search engine with the URL

https://www.google.com/search?q=%s&udm=14[4]

Bing Copilot

Bing Copilot is also designed to enhance the search experience by providing AI-driven assistance. It aims to offer more personalized and contextually relevant search results based on Bing user behavior and preferences.

While having a similar concept of personalized search results, which sounds appealing, the execution has also had its flaws.

Public Perception

Users reported mixed experiences, with some finding the tool helpful and others deeming it intrusive and unnecessary. A common criticism was that Bing Copilot often failed to deliver accurate results, leading to frustration and a preference for traditional search methods.

How to Disable Bing Copilot

It is a lot easier to disable Bing Copilot than Google To disable Bing Copilot, users can follow a straightforward process through their browser or account settings:

  1. Open Bing settings through your browser or account preferences.
  2. Navigate to the Copilot settings.
  3. Toggle the Copilot feature off.

Disabling Bing Copilot is straightforward through user-friendly settings. Additionally, third-party tools can assist in managing these settings more effectively, ensuring that users are not inadvertently subjected to AI-driven search enhancements.

Meta AI

Meta AI encompasses a range of AI-driven features and tools across Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms owned by Meta.

These AI systems aim to enhance user experience by personalizing content, moderating posts, and providing interactive features. While these enhancements are intended to improve user engagement and satisfaction, they have also sparked controversy.

Public Perception

Meta AI has been a topic of controversy, with users expressing concerns about privacy, data misuse, and the accuracy of AI moderation. Many users are wary of the implications for their personal data and the potential spread of misinformation.

A notable incident involved the AI moderation system mistakenly flagging and removing legitimate posts, leading to user frustration and calls for more transparency and control over the AI algorithms used by Meta.

How to Disable Meta AI

To disable Meta AI on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, follow these steps:
Facebook

Method 1: Mute Meta AI:

  • Open the Meta AI chatbot on Facebook.
  • Tap the i icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Select Mute from the options.
  • Choose how long you want to mute the AI: 1, 8, or 24 hours or indefinitely.

Method 2: Block Meta AI:

  • Open the Meta AI chatbot on Facebook.
  • Tap the i icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Select Block from the options.

Instagram

Method 1: Mute Meta AI:

  • Open the Meta AI chatbot on Instagram.
  • Tap the i icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Select Mute from the options.
  • Choose how long you want to mute the AI: 1, 8, or 24 hours or indefinitely.

Method 2: Block Meta AI:

  • Open the Meta AI chatbot on Instagram.
  • Tap the i icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Select Profile.
  • Tap Block from the options.

WhatsApp

Method 1: Hide Meta AI Button:

  • Go to Settings > Chats > Show Meta AI Button.
  • Toggle off the button to hide it.

Method 2: Delete Meta AI Chat:

Delete the Meta AI chat from your chat list.

Alternative: Use Older Versions of Apps

Facebook: Download an older version of the Facebook app from a trusted website and install it on your device. This will remove the Meta AI feature.

Instagram: Use the older version of the Instagram app from a trusted website and install it on your device. This will remove the Meta AI feature.

Note: Installing an older version of an app should always be the last resort if you really need to disable the feature and nothing else works, as older versions have all kinds of vulnerabilities and bugs and might get in conflict with your OS or other apps.

While some features may be deeply integrated and harder to disable completely, third-party privacy tools and browser extensions can help manage and limit Meta AI’s reach.

Bonus: Bypassing Paywalls

Although not exactly an AI feature, paywalls are also very annoying and a lot of people are looking into ways of disabling them. They restrict access to online content, requiring users to subscribe or pay for access.

They have become increasingly common on news websites and other content platforms. While paywalls are a way for publishers to monetize their content, they also limit access to information, prompting users to seek methods to bypass them.

Public Perception

Many users find paywalls frustrating, particularly when they impede access to vital information. This frustration has led to a growing demand for tools that can bypass these barriers. Users argue that access to information should be free and not restricted by financial barriers, especially in the digital age.

How to Disable Paywalls Using 12ft.io

One popular tool for bypassing paywalls is 12ft.io. The process is simple and user-friendly:

  1. Copy the URL of the paywalled article.
  2. Go to 12ft.io.
  3. Paste the URL into the 12ft.io search bar.
  4. Press Enter to access the full content.

Other browser extensions like Bypass Paywalls or Outline.com offer similar functionality, providing users with multiple options to access restricted content.

Ease of Disabling

12ft.io is highly user-friendly and requires no technical expertise. Comparatively, other tools may vary in ease of use and effectiveness. Users generally find 12ft.io to be a reliable and straightforward solution to bypassing paywalls.

Other ways of disabling Paywalls

Some of the easiest ways of disabling Paywalls, aside from the 12ft website, are these:

Bypass Client-Side Paywalls with Extensions

  • Reader Mode: Use the Reader Mode extension to remove overlay elements and convert the article into a distraction-free format.
  • Pocket: Save the article to Pocket and then open it from the Pocket list.
  • Bardeen: Use Bardeen’s extension to extract the article body and convert it into an audio file or text.

2. Bypass Server-Side Paywalls

  • Web Archives: Use web archives like Wayback Machine or Archive.ph to access the article.

3. Bypass Paywalls with Browser Extensions

  • Bypass Paywalls: Install the Bypass Paywalls extension for Chrome or Firefox to bypass paywalls.
  • Hover: Use the Hover extension to spoof websites into thinking you are a search engine bot.

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