Lately I’ve been encountering the strangest thing. In the afternoons, Google Search has stopped working on my MacBook Pro. I can’t do a Google search, and I can’t go to Google.com. Upon initiating the request, the browser just spins and spins, and eventually it times out. For a while I thought there was something wrong with my ISP, because this problem only occurs in the afternoons, and it doesn’t occur on my iPhone over an LTE connection. I’ve been forced to use DuckDuckGo as my search engine.1

Over time though, I slowly discovered something. Google Search only breaks in Chrome; in Safari for example, it still works fine. And in Chrome, it works in a private browsing session. On a hunch the other day, I cleared all of my cookies in Chrome, and boom, Google Search started working again. The next time the issue arose (it doesn’t happen every afternoon, but often enough to be very irksome) I pinpointed the exact cookie that was causing the problem. It’s called Channel ID, relating to transport security perchance. If you go here2 you can see all of your Chrome cookies for the Google.com domain. While I’m writing this, I’m going there and I’m seeing a Channel ID cookie, and yet Google Search works; so that cookie only breaks Google Search at certain times of day. When it’s broken, all I have to do is delete that cookie, and it starts working again.

It’s the weirdest thing and I haven’t found anything online about this.


  1. I appreciate the competition of a free market, but let’s be honest: DuckDuckGo is vastly inferior to Google Search. ↩︎
  2. For that link to work, you’ll have to copy and paste it in your address bar in Google Chrome. Clicking it directly results in this console error: > Not allowed to load local resource

    Meh.

    ↩︎