Spotlight (in Yosemite) has the ability to search the web. However, this only works with Bing. Is it possible to switch it to using Google?

  • Is the Search with Google still in the syst pref Keyboard shortcuts-Services Enabled?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 23:39
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    Web Search engines is a very big business. The Google is all about that, and how they made the big buck. Apple has decided to go with Microsoft Bing for purely financial reasons, and they did not make it easy for users to change it.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 0:16
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    Buscar, Apple's reasons for using Bing over Google may be financial, but I would suggest you add "in my opinion" before making accusations. Neither of us work at Apple and therefore neither of us know for sure what Apple's motivations for the switch were.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 4:35
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    tubedogg, It might me good to add in my opinion, however, it is also OK to let the people figure out that it is opinion, not fact. It's not that hard to do, and adding "In my opinion" just adds a "politically correct" side to it.
    – Cullub
    Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 14:21
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    unfortunately, Flashlight doesn't work in El Capitan: github.com/nate-parrott/Flashlight/issues/537 Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 14:37

5 Answers 5


It is not possible to get suggestions from Google, but it is possible to do a Google (or any other supported search engines) search from Spotlight.

Select your favorite search engine in the Safari preferences. Then in spotlight you type the term to be searched and then do the search with ⌘ + B.

This works even if your default browser is not Safari, but will use Safari's default search engine.


In OS X 10.10 someone has made a spotlight plugin which has unofficially reversed engineered the API necessary to add new search engines. i.e. google. The project is called flashlight. It comes out of the box with a lot of plugins, including google. To use it, you start spotlight and enter g yosemite, for example, which does a google search for "yosemite"

This open-source app is hosted on git hub and has releases which mean you just install the .app file, as usual. However, it's not signed so you may need to go to system preferences -> security & privacy and choose to allow the app to open (which you do after starting it and getting the error message that the app is not from the app store). Assuming you trust the app and/or my recommendation. You may like to visit the github site and see how many people have starred this application, to give you some sense of confidence. download here: http://flashlight.nateparrott.com/

github: https://github.com/nate-parrott/Flashlight#flashlight

  • This is really great. I was using Alfred for similar functionality, but if I can bundle a lot of it directly into spotlight then that's one less app to worry about. :-) Thanks for sharing.
    – tdc
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 16:20

You might check out Google Quick Search Box. From their description:

Quick Search Box is an open source search box that allows you to search data on your computer and across the web. With Quick Search Box you can search for information from just about anywhere. You can then perform actions on the search results, such as launching applications, emailing friends, or playing a song.

Otherwise, OS X Yosemite still has a shortcut in System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Shortcuts >> Under Searching, Search with Google

However, the short answer to your question is no. You cannot use spotlight to directly search Google.


Open Safari, open preferences > search > Make sure your search engine is set to Google. Also, make sure to include Spotlight Suggestions. This should do the trick. I have attached my settings, which allow me to use Google with Spotlight. If you need more help, comment and I'll be interested to help! My settings:

enter image description here

  • 1
    That doesn't appear to work in Yosemite
    – Casebash
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 2:08
  • 1
    That is strange... Are you on the latest version?
    – Bora
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 2:48
  • There is only one version of Yosemite.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 22:08
  • 10.10 or 10.10. 1 ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 23:37
  • Sorry, confirming that this no longer works in the most current version of Yosemite. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 18:13

If you want to search more than google, an interesting alternative is Alfred, it's pretty close to spotlight, but has a lot more options (especially if you buy the power pack.

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