Google Personalized

By bavidarbavidar (1260135005|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Google Personalized

google-homepage.jpg

Google's announced this week that it will expand personalized search to all users. Instead of being "logged in", Google will store cookies on computers. This is something that they have not done before.

Today's Blog will talk about:

  1. My Initial Reaction
  2. How This Will Change the Search Process
  3. Is This Good or Bad for Google

My Initial Reaction

At first I was a little taken back by this new change. I am not one of those people who uses iGoogle or has a custom home page. I enjoy the simplicity of Google. I am probably one of the few that get really annoyed when I see my previous search queries come up in the text box field when i search on Google. So it was no surprise that when I heard that Google was going to make searches more personalized did I immediately go to Bing and begin searching on it hoping that i would fall in love with it and it would become my new "go to" search engine. So it took about 15 seconds before I went back to Google and realized i'd rather deal with this new personalized stuff than deal with Bing. However, I just don't like the fact that every time i search lets says "Chicago Bears" that it tells me the amount of times ive visited that site and when the last time ive visited. So who care that i've clicked on that link 20 times and i was there 15 seconds ago. It really just makes me want to click somewhere else.

I understand that Google is trying to help the search experience by adding sites that people trust to increase relevance but what if i like my generic search. What if i like not knowing what will be the first result when i press "Search". For those who dont log into Google before they search, i dont see a reason why we are forced to use this feature. Please! Please! Some one find a way to turn in off.

How This Will Change The Search Process

Now that Google has begun using a cookie placed on users' machines to track their search behavior and offer personalized recommendations, even when they are not logged into a Google account, there is no doubt that the search experience is going to change. Although i may have some distaste towards this feature I will try to be as objective as possible in this section.

Here is a quick quote from Google's Bryan Horling, Software Engineer and Matthew Kulick, Product Manager.

"Previously, we only offered Personalized Search for signed-in users, and only when they had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. What we're doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser."

This new feature will change everything. Now, it will be impossible to replicate the same search twice. Since once you search the first time, Google will use your last search to better propagate results the second time. For some users this can generate more precise results as Google will become more familiar with the users likes and dislikes in terms of searching. However, this can also have some problems as it will cause some relevant sites that might now be known to the user to be listed much farther down than initially expected.

Google states that the reason for this new more personalized Google is because besides getting better search results, they say that this technology can also deliver more targeted advertising,

Is This Good Or Bad for Google

I guess this can only be good for Google. Right now, I feel that this will improve their advertising and make most people's search experience better. However, at the end of day, you must ask yourself "Do you trust Google". The answer to this must clearly be yes as Google will not be watching your every move on the internet in order to better help you search. I find this a little too much as i am never a fan of cookies. However, if you are willing to accept cookies from the sites you visit, then any site can collect information about you. Google collects more information than most, but will try to use it to your benefit or so they claim.

Final Thoughts

While Google may think this is a great feature, I don't. The problem is that Google is now tracking users of search who have specifically chosen not to log in to a Google account.
Google is getting too close to its customers' personal information. If i were you i would turn off cookies. Keep what freedom you still have left. While I am fond of Google, i am not fond of them knowing everything about me.

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