Disable the Google Grid Navigation, Revert Back to Top Bar Navigation

If you’re a Google user (which most of us are), you’ve probably noticed an annoying new navigation system that they’ve slowly been rolling out to the public. It takes the tried and true Top Bar navigation with quick, one-click access to their most popular Google Products…

Google Top Nav
Google Top Nav

and groups everything into what they are calling the grid…

Google Grid Navigation
Google Grid Navigation

Which is irritating because, among other things, it adds an additional click to get to where I need to go (e.g. Getting to Google Calendar from Gmail). Their welcome message is equally as annoying:

Welcome to the new way to find your favorite Google products. Click the grid to have a look.

I noticed though that my Chrome sessions varied from computer to computer (some showed Top Nav action while others showed the stupid Grid). So I did a little toying around and may’ve found a possible solution. Although not ideal and possible temporary (until Google really decides to force this down our throats), here’s the simple solution that brought my holy Top Nav back.

The Solution

  1. In Chrome, go to Settings
  2. Google Chrome Settings
    Google Chrome Settings

  3. On the left nav, click on History and click the Clear browsing data… button
  4. Google Chrome History Settings
    Google Chrome History Settings

  5. On the Clear browsing data popup, check all boxes and click on the Clear browsing data button.
  6. Clear browsing data popup window
    Clear browsing data popup window

  7. Close your Chrome session and go back to Google where you’ll find your Nav back where it should be… On Top!

A few notes/caveats:

  • As mentioned above, this is by no means a permanent solution. Once Google decides that this is the (ill-advised) direction they’d like to go, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
  • I’ve also actually once did this before and the Grid nav returned! I don’t recall how or when, but I’ll try to update this article once I figure it out after the next occurrence. For now, this seems to work at least for a little while.
  • On step 3 above, you don’t necessarily need to check all boxes. If you want to preserve your settings for some of these and have the time, by all means, feel free to experiment with which checkbox exactly resolves this for you. I’m guessing it’ll be the cache one. I just tried to simplify things by checking all boxes.
  • Not sure if it makes much of a difference, but in my tests, I used the standalone Google Notifier app for Windows with HTTPS patch installed. I am logged in through the app/Program, and double-click to launch Gmail within a non-Incognito Chrome session.
  • Google ideally needs to make this an option in your account settings. For a company whose main focus seems to be speed and efficiency, they should know better than to add an extra click in everyone’s main navigation path.

I hope this helps you out! Feel free to leave your feedback below.

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