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Personalized Search - Still In Effect?

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, July 26, 2007
12 years ago4,897 views

is Google still rearranging my SERPS based on info collected about me? It doesn't seem so.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

They stopped disclosing it in the SERPs, so you won't see the old "these results are personalized, turn off" or what it used to read. But yes, if you are logged in (not quite sure what other parameters need to be met, e.g. search history), apparently they do sometimes shuffle the especially ranking for you. In theory you might be able to find out the differences by putting a "&pws=0" parameter at the end of a URL for a result you're seeing. (I did that a couple of times and didn't see any difference.)

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

<< They stopped disclosing it in the SERPs... >>

Not strictly true. It does tell you when your results have been personalized but it just doesn't (easily) give you the option to switch them off.

You can tell when your results have been personalized when the top right says:

<< Personalized Results 1 – # of about # for X >>

Instead of just :

<< Results 1 – # of about # for X >>

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Ah, didn't know that. I guess I never see it 'cause I have personalized search disabled these days. (At least I hope I do! blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-0 ...)

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

thanks for the help. I wish they made it more transparent so I could help Google along to give me more personalized results.

or [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Hashim, it is transparent. It says personalized results at the top right just as Tony says. I see it often.

Philipp, the way personalized search currently work, you will not be at a disadvantage by using it, since the changes are not drastic. It does not use a fine grained, implicit approach

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

FYI, here's what a search for [google] returns for me...

Personalized:

1. Google – www.google.com
2. Google Video – video.google.com
3. Google Maps – maps.google.com
4. Google News – news.google.com
5. Google Groups – groups.google.com
6. Google Desktop Download – desktop.google.com
7. Google Labs – labs.google.com
8. Google – www.google.co.uk
9. Google Image Search – images.google.com
10. Google – www.google.ca

Standard:

1. Google – www.google.com
2. Google Maps – maps.google.com
3. Google News – news.google.com
4. Google Video – video.google.com
5. Google Groups – groups.google.com
6. Google – www.google.co.uk
7. Google Image Search – images.google.com
8. Google – www.google.ca
9. Google Directory – directory.google.com
10. Google Earth – earth.google.com

It's interesting to see that in my personalized results:

   * Google Video higher than Google Maps – even though I use Maps more than Video
   * Google Desktop – even though I've never installed it
   * Google Labs – which I visit every now and again

Is Google increasing the ranking of results of sites I wouldn't normally visit in my personalized search? If so, while that probably makes sense – e.g. Why would I want to see sites in the results which I've visited before? – I would still have expected it to work in completely the opposite way. (This probably isn't really a fair test though as I'd rarely click on any of the search results for just the phrase [google].)

Maybe Personalized Search works better for people who expand their web history to include all sites visited rather than just searches.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

That's interesting. I never thought about personalization that way... increasing the relevancy of "less known/ used" products/ services/ sites. I think we need a larger test with more samples to see if this is what they might be doing...

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Tony,

I've just checked, I have exactly the same results as you for the personalised search, which is odd :/

Moreover, I barely used Google Video anymore, or Google UK and I've only once used Google Canada at school (my school/college filtered google.co.uk/com – it was short lived)

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Hit the submit too soon (again)

> Maybe Personalized Search works better for people
> who expand their web history to include all sites visited
> rather than just searches.
Nope, I've been using web history since Day 1 as an experiment to see if Google can crack me, so far, all they've provided is more redundant links to me (such as expertsexchange.com). I often find myself moving to a least 3 pages now, and I never remember doing this before.

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