Turn off mouse highlighting on Google suggestions?

This is something that has been annoying me for quite some time.

Ok, so when you start typing in the Google search box, it presents a list of suggestions as a drop-down. I like this. I can type a few keystrokes, and what I’m looking for will usually be the first or second item in the list. So I arrow down to the one I want to get the full text in the search box, and hit enter. Works great, EXCEPT…

If my mouse happens to be hovering over the tenth (or whatever) item down on the list, Google thinks THAT is the item I want. So when I start arrowing down, it starts from the item my mouse is over. I’m usually moving so fast I don’t notice until I’ve hit enter and thereby gotten results for something other than what I’m looking for. The thought that flashes through my head is “the second one in the list is what I want,” and I hit the down arrow twice and hit enter. Only then do I realize my mouse was hovering over some item further down the list, so I wind up selecting the item two entries below whatever my mouse was hovering over.

I hope this all makes sense. Is there some way to disable this annoying mouse highlighting? I’ve tried Googling (heh), but I’m not finding anything. And I’m not seeing anything in the search settings.

I’ve been annoyed by generally similar problems in a whole lot of places on a whole lot of pages on a whole lot of web sites. The problem, more generally, is that things often actively happen when your mouse pointer happens to point to <something> even without you clicking on it. (Witness the many complaints over in ATMB of videos that begin playing when you mouse over it, even without clicking.)

Another really common problem: Drop-down menus that drop down as soon as you mouse-over the top-level menu item, which then covers up some other item (commonly a log-in box) that you were actually aiming for. How often have you had that happen?

I’ve learned to get in the habit of defensive mousing: Whenever I take my hand off the mouse (that is, when I’m not actively moving the mouse somewhere for some particular purpose), I always move the pointer to some idle area (often the title bar at the top of the window, or an empty spot on some toolbar) and leave the mouse pointer parked there.

I know, it sounds like a hassle and a nuisance, and it is, but the trick is to get into the habit of doing that all the time, so you don’t have to think about it every time.

Here’s a thought: Let’s collect a compendium of tricks and techniques that y’all have learned or figured out to defend yourself against annoying GUI quirks and other defensive computer usage techniques. I’ll bet people have plenty to contribute.

Another defensive mousing trick I’ve learned (again, somewhat of a hassle, but made borderline tolerable by getting into the habit of it): When I’m actually using the mouse, moving it from any point A in the window to any target point B, I actively avoid passing over any other recognizable links or other “hot spots” on the way.

ANYTHING on the screen that looks like it might be clickable or otherwise active (like items on menu bars), I steer around. It’s a PITA, not being able to mouse in a straight line from point A to point B. But GUI windows, and web pages in particular, are like mine fields, and every active thing on the screen is like a hazard to be avoided (unless it’s the thing I actually want to click).

The fundamental problem is that things can happen when you mouse-over something, even without clicking, and this ability is extensively abused.

Tool-tips are fine, because they only appear when you hover over a link for a few seconds. If all drop-down menus behaved that way too, it would be much better. And it’s fine for simple things, like links that change color when you mouse over them, or images that change to another image when you mouse over.

Another problem happens in vertical-scrolling windows (that is, pages with a vertical size greater than the window, so you are scrolling down to read it – like any typical news story for example). If you leave your mouse pointer sitting in that window, and if you scroll down by pressing arrow keys on the keyboard, it often happens that links will travel under the mouse pointer even though you haven’t touched the mouse. It’s easy to forget where you left the pointer. So again, this is another reason I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping the pointer parked out-of-the-way. Even as I type this, I have my pointer parked at the top of this edit window.

Right-click, Ad Block, done.

Anything that does anything without me starting may be terminated with extreme prejudice.
If it moves, flashes, or makes sound, it’s gone as fast as I can click.

I think some or even many of these annoyances come from web developers who are using all of the tricks they can find in HTML5 to make their site look ‘modern’. I remember when many sites would start a midi file playing when you loaded the main page. Eventually, these problems went away as people started complaining. A good clean interface is always superior to a cluttered one, in my professional opinion.