Saturday, November 14, 2009

Unpersonalize Google

Have you ever been proud that you know the Internet inside out ?
You are searching for something and Google does not bring any new unknown links ?

The reasons is not, that you know the Internet too well, but that Google knows you too well. Hardly any search that you do in Google is not personalised specifically to you. Personalisation of search results is one of Googles main focus to provide better answers.

But what does that mean on the other side ? Google is trying to get to know you as good as possible. The more Google knows about you, the better the search results. And the better Google knows you, the better it can put you into a perfect customer segment and sell targeted adds.

This is all not very new. But personalised searches mean, that Google is showing only the stuff that you like anyway. Google is not interested that you live wild and dangerously and explore the unknown of the Internet.

Google uses (at least) the following mechanism for personalization:
  • Google accounts
  • Cookies
  • IP Adresses
  • and even the language you use and the way you phrase your search.
A perfect article explaining this was done by Danny Sullivan on Searchengineland

So you have not become too clever - it is Google that has become too clever!

Just as a check:
  • When have you last deleted your cookies ?
  • When have you last switched out of your Google account ? (this normally switches logging of your search history)
  • When have you last compared your search results against an anonymous search like Scroogle?
Did you ever have the feeling that you knew all Google's results in advance ?

Happy searching !

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