Scenario: I'm talking in-person with someone and during the course of conversation I think of a website whose URL I know from memory, and I want them to type the URL into their smartphone and access the website directly without performing a web search (just like you could do on a traditional computer web browser in the address bar).

To be clear: I don't want it to do "search as you type", I don't want it to create suggestions based on partial matches, and I don't want it to do any kind of search that delivers search results. I don't want the entered string to be sent to a search engine to do any processing of any kind. I just want it to open a connection to the indicated website (i.e., go directly to DNS lookup followed by HTTP or HTTPS connection to the entered URL). Also, in this scenario, I have no way to generate a QR code for them (I don't own a smartphone, and might not be carrying my computer with me).

Do smartphones have that facility (i.e., a field to enter a URL without passing it to a search engine, exactly like the old browsers used to do with the address bar)? If so, how do I instruct the Android user (and/or iOS user) to find the field where they can type in the URL and not have it be processed by a search engine?

  • I don't see a problem here, just check the different browser apps for an option to disable the automatic search. This has nothing to do with Android, just with the browser app you are using - I assume you are using Chrome by default. – Robert Dec 25 '18 at 13:01
  • You can even configure Chrome the way you want: makeuseof.com/tag/privacy-settings-chrome-android – Robert Dec 25 '18 at 13:11
  • That doesn't work. The people in the scenario I described are non-technical. They don't even know if they're using Chrome or not. Also, they usually don't want to hand me their phone to make config changes (like I'm sitting next to them in a bar, or meetup group). I just wanted to know what button to tell them to push to make it do the thing I described (just like on a computer browser). If there is one, great. If there isn't, there isn't. – hkhans Dec 31 '18 at 5:44
  • Then I only have one suggestion left: Don't enter the URL, use a QR code instead the the URL is sent as one to the web browser and the address bar search and suggestion feature is not used. Anyway if you want to keep URLs secret you are doing something wrong - use a password protected site instead. – Robert Dec 31 '18 at 12:06
  • Thanks for the note. I might not be able to generate a QR code on short notice (as I don't normally carry such devices myself) and might not know in advance what QR codes I might want. Also, the point wasn't to keep the URL secret, it was to see if smartphones have the equivalent function as the computer web browser. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm OK with that, if that's the answer. – hkhans Jan 1 '19 at 15:48

These days, browsers on mobile devices, use one bar for searching with an search engine and inserting a specific URL request of web site. What you need to do is simple tell them "Touch top bar/address bar and insert this specific URL" or "Insert this URL in the bar and send".
You need to know that if the inserted text is a correctly formatted URL (protocol://domainOrIPAddress:port/path/filename) then the browser will show you directly the web page, otherwise it will use the default search engine for retrieving a possible list of sites that you maybe want to see for the inserted keyword.

In summary, you don't need something special, everything should work without you doing anything on browser settings. However I think there is an option to deactivate the bar for searching cases and only use it for inserting URL, but it's more convenient how it works normally, so by default is one bar for searching and URL request in all browsers.

However, for not letting search engines look on your search/request you need to uncheck some settings on browsers like "Suggestions by Search Engine/Bookmarks".

  • It didn't work. I followed your instructions on a friend's smartphone and it did a "search as you type" displaying a list of search results, indicating that the URL was passed to a search engine (which is exactly what I said I don't want). – hkhans Nov 29 '18 at 7:10
  • Sorry I mistook your question on this part. Like on desktop browsers there are some setting that you can play with. The name is browser dependent but in general there is a checkbox "activate suggestion by provider" or "activate suggestion by history". You need to uncheck this options. So you need to say "Go on settings -> Uncheck/Remove setting" and after that go to search bar and write this URL. Hope this helps and I'll update the answer after your veriffication – Iulian Nov 29 '18 at 14:16
  • I'm not sure what you mean about browser dependent. The people I'm referring to either aren't using a browser or aren't aware of one being there. They are non-technical. Also, disabling their ability to do a normal search seems a bit severe. I wasn't looking for a solution that disables any normal capability, nor one that requires complex reconfiguration (or installing an app, or coding, installing another OS, etc... even though I know all of those solutions might exist). This might be some person in a bar and I just want them to go to some URL without it being recorded by google etc. – hkhans Nov 30 '18 at 7:43
  • Sorry man, but Internet is a public so in reality even the providers could theoretically speaking register your requests for looking in them. You need to give them faith that they aren't looking. When you send a packet on the network, especially with technology wireless like WI-FI every one can sniff your packets and if they aren't encrypted easily look what you have requested. In the end if they are interested they will look. However you can use some other services to have more privacy like VPN and so one, but its maybe over kill for your case. – Iulian Nov 30 '18 at 9:13
  • In the end if you don't want to be recorded the best way is to create a personal program that makes the request in an encrypted communication like TLS, or use some service like VPN, DuckDuckGo and Tor having faith in what they promise. However there will be obviously a trace that you are using this service, but Google for example will not know what you were doing in this sessions. So sorry, but there isn't a easy solution to not be tracked with the basic app that we are normally using (default browsers and so on) – Iulian Nov 30 '18 at 9:15

Summary (after one month): "No can do." The functionality of entering a URL without doing a search (as it exists on computer browsers) does not exist on smartphones conveniently (i.e., without doing some kind of obscure config changes or app installation, which would not be suitable to do in the scenario described in the original question).

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