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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Google Offers Personalized Search to Everyone

Posted by @ 10:17 pm
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Personalized search was a Google enhancement released a couple of years ago which promised to provide a more relevant and useful search experience to users. The only catch was you had to be signed in and have web history enabled.

Late last week, Google extended the personalized search offering to everyone – removing the need to be logged in or to have web history enabled. From the release post:

Today we’re helping people get better search results by extending Personalized Search to signed-out users worldwide, and in more than forty languages. Now when you search using Google, we will be able to better provide you with the most relevant results possible.

The new personalized search experience will be enabled through the use of an anonymous cookie in your browser. Google claims its completely separate from your Google account – protecting users privacy.

For the privacy sceptics, you can also turn off the functionality completely so there’s absolutely no data being stored from your browsing. If you wish to turn it off, you can find out here.

You’ll know when Google’s customizing your search results as there will be a “View Customizations” link displayed in the top right hand side of the search results. Clicking the link will provide details on exactly how Google have modified results based on your browser history.

You can learn more about the personalize search experience by watching this video with Bryan Horling and Robby Bryant – both Google software engineers.

Whilst Google’s personalized search concept should enhance the search experience, it’s important for users to be conscious of the customization as algorithm based personalization is always going to be subject to error.

If they get it right, I’m a big fan of customized search, but I’m sure the privacy advocates will cause a stir with Google’s opt out use of anonymous tracking cookies.

What do you think about personalized search?

  • Do you currently use it? Does it provide a better search experience?
  • Are you concerned with the privacy implications of Google using tracking cookies?

Share your thoughts with our readers below.



Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of ineedhits.com - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for Gooruze.com - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile






Discussion (2 - comments)

How will this benefit my website? http://www.daveyonefamilylawman.blogspot.com

By Daveyone - December 8, 2009



I have no problems with personalized search, as long as it is OPT-IN and is clear to the user that it is turned on. The fact that personalized search is somewhat hidden from the user, is opt-out, and will turn itself back on when you clear out your cookies is not only bad for the user experience, but is a privacy concern as well.

By Gus S. - December 17, 2009




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