Google Increases Search Result Personalization - Removes Notification

Feb 3rd

Google recently announced they are increasing user personalization. In the past they typically placed a turn off personalized results whenever your results were personalized, but now they do not disclose when they are personalizing the results, so you don't know when they changed, which sucks. To see non-personalized results you have to log out of your Google account.

Now instead of marking the results as personalized when they change them the results always say they are personalized.

Published: February 3, 2007

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Comments

February 5, 2007 - 3:38pm

I would suggest the incentive is that the more targeted results are, the more targeted any ads will be.

I've just lost the incentive to invite anyone to gmail...

February 5, 2007 - 6:04pm

I wonder if anyone is upset with this other than SEO types and other online marketers. If not, then Google probably has their eye on the user experience ball. If the only people decrying a change in results are those looking to manipulate them, it seems like a move in the right direction (from Google's perspective).

Google would like for every site's SEO strategy to be "create quality content and a good user experience". That strategy would be unaffected by this change. That said, my search results will over emphasize my sites, so professionally, I need to use a proxy of some sort (or log out / clear my cache, etc.) to see unadulterated results. One that seems to do the trick is at Scroogle (http://www.scroogle.org/scrapen8.html), produced by google-watch.org (it also scrapes off the sponsored listings, but the UI is ugly. Aaron, you could put up a better one.

February 6, 2007 - 1:33am

What's the incentive for Google to force personalization?

The better they know you the more they can profit from your attention (better ad targeting). If you don't realize that things are manipulated to fit your biased worldview then you will think their results are more relevant than they are...because to you they are.

Google would like for every site's SEO strategy to be "create quality content and a good user experience."

Is that why the AdSense heat map shows the best area for AdSense ads is in the content area of the page?

Maybe with enough quality score adjustments their ads will be quality content. Hehehe.

February 6, 2007 - 5:01am

They say we can't scrape their results, we can't setup new SOAP APIs to get their results, and now it's becoming more difficult to check our rankings manually - WTF?

I really don't see the reason for removing the "turn off personalised search" option. It's evil.

February 17, 2007 - 1:01am

"To see non-personalized results you have to log out of your Google account."

Eh? Why would I want to log in to a "Google account" in the first place? It's a fricking search engine. I'm not going to tell it who I am (hint: I am not a dead French/Italian cardinal, either). If you "log in" then expect them to use whatever information you gave them, and don't whine about it.

February 17, 2007 - 2:35am

People who find one of their other services useful (like AdWords, AdSense, or Gmail) log in for those.

February 3, 2007 - 5:16am

If you login to your Google account and click the search product you can pause the history collection. If they don't have the search history how can they customize it..

Pause collection, delete your current history, keep on movin :)

February 3, 2007 - 1:10pm

"they do not disclose when they are personalizing the results, so you don't know when they changed, which sucks."
I agree. How can people who what to conduct independent research rely on Google now?

David Bain

Susan
February 3, 2007 - 6:35pm

I think this really sucks. I have to be logged in on my Google account because I use gmail a lot so now I just use firefox to work and email and internet explorer to do my google searches.

February 4, 2007 - 8:53pm

I agree.

Let the user's customize their results if they want - don't force it on them.

What's the incentive for Google to force personalization?

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