Safari users having problems with google?

macOS & Mac Apps

Hello AppleVis,
Is any other Safari user using Google Search engines having a situation where when you search now all you see in the results is just the URL. Doesn't state the title and heading 3.
I noticed it today, and it's leaving me confused, because I can't make sense of my search with just a URL.
Any suggestions to fix would be greatly appreciated.



Submitted by Greg Wocher on Thursday, January 16, 2020

I was also seeing this. Here is what I did that seemed to solve the issue. FIRST open up the voiceover utility. Change to the navigation payne. Next look for the option about the mouse cursor. Set it to ignore the vo cursor. Hopefully this will help you.

Greg Wocher

Submitted by Soren Holmgren… on Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hi Chuck

I had the same issue but it disappeared after I logged out of Google in my Safari browser. Then I did a little test and it is not only the Safari browser which alters the Google search results if you are logged into your Google account. It seems to me that when you are logged in to the Google account you get some more information about the search results - maybe as an additional service but not convenient for us.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, January 16, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Each search result header is now in a group along with the URL and other text. If you interact with that group (VO+Down Arrow), you can then skip past the URL and other junk and get to the actual title of the result. Why Google did this, I don't know.

Each search result header is a header level 3, but I tried jumping to header level 3 by turning on quick nav and using the 3 key, and VoiceOver still seems to want to read the entire group starting with the URL rather than just the header itself.

This is very frustrating. I'm not sure who to file this issue with, Google or Apple.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Thursday, January 16, 2020

I submitted a complaint about it on the accessibility feedback link towards the top of the page.
perhaps this is something many of us should write to google about.
it's definitely not going to make things easier when VO is just reading the URL. Yes it's good to know the website. However, trying decide if I need to look at an article or skip to the next has been made impossible.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, January 16, 2020

As stated, this is a google problem/update and nothing to do with apple. My best suggestion is to move to duck duck go. You can change your preferred search engine in safari preferences under search.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Thursday, January 16, 2020

I made those changes and it's still reading URLs with no titles or heading markings.

Submitted by Greg Wocher on Thursday, January 16, 2020

This is not just a google problem. When I do searches on my windows machine it does not exhibit this behavior. I thought the mouse would help. It helped me at first. Just yesterday however it reverted to showing me the URL before the title of the result. This is odd.

Greg Wocher

This is a Voiceover bug.
It seems that google is imbedding the heading in an anchor with other text. They have recently change the order so that the heading isn't the first item. However, Voiceover still should only read the heading text when the next and prior heading key strokes are used. Notice that in the web rotor, the headings list only shows the headings imbedded in the anchors.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Thursday, January 16, 2020

This is partially an issue with the way VoiceOver works, but also an issue with the Google search change. On Windows at least with NVDA if you go by heading the results are read fine, but if you tab through the page instead you get the same problem as on the mac.

We reached out to Google accessibility with a friend on Twitter and they asked to contact the disability support team with the problem report and they will file it in the right place.

Submitted by Gar on Thursday, January 16, 2020

As has been stated, it is a Google issue. The reason being, as I have learned, Google has visually redesigned their search results to be more appealing.
My suggestion is to just not bother reporting it, as in my opinion, Google is not worth using for privacy concerns. Just use DuckDuckGo or another not-for-profit search engine which is doing some good to help the planet.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Saturday, January 18, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

When Google displays its search results, I hit VO+U and arrow left or right until the list of Headers appears. Now I've got a nice list of just headers with no URL prefixes. Works better than the old Google search results as I can just up and down arrow through the list. I should've used this technique years ago.

Submitted by HaiTech on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Unfortunately, Google has updated search to be more visually distracting by adding favicons to the results. Supposedly this is to let users know which results are more reputable. As part of this update, Google also inserted the site URL as well as an arrow icon next to the URL. Although I am able to replicate this VoiceOver issue on both Safari and Chrome on Mac OS, it doesn’t appear to be a problem on Windows browsers and associated screen reader combinations. The following LifeHacker article provides steps for filtering out the new changes to Google search and should revert the experience back to the previous behavior. How to Fix Google's Ugly, Logo-Filled Search Results Alternatively, switching the browser agent string to mobile provides a more usable experience.

Submitted by HaiTech on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In reply to by Piotr Machacz

So basically, you received a canned response from Google.
I also reached out to @GoogleAccess on Twitter and was provided with the same report form. After filling out the contact form, I received a response requesting my browser version and a noncommittal “We’ll look in to it.” This is clearly an accessibility QA issue. Processes and priorities are not aligned to prevent delivery of broken updates.

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

After trying to deal with this for a little while I gave up and switched the search engine to DuckDuckgo. All of their search results use level 2 headings and there's less garbage you have to skip past. I've been so disappointed by Google for the past year. More of their services have had their accessibility slowly crumbled around the edges as they've updated them (I'm glaring at you, Youtube). This is another nail in the coffin for me. I'm so sick of constantly poking their accessibility team.

Submitted by J.P. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

HaiTech is correct in the change. Tech blogs are also flooded with disgruntled sighted users. The Favicons are not popular. Looks like some accessibility regression with Google.
I’ve used Duck Duck Go for years. Cleaner UI, and not EVIL like Google/Alphabet.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Thanks for the VO U solution. I think I was aware of it but there are these little corners of VoiceOver that one forgets about...

Regarding google generally, they seem to be doing some interesting stuff with the Stadia gaming platform regarding accessibility which is their current push, leading me to believe, like apple, they are using the image of helping disabled people as a virtuous crutch for brand image... Okay, maybe a little harsh...