Google Personalised Search launched
Google has confirmed that its new Personalised Search is fully live.
Personalised Search has been in place for several years for logged-in users, but in December Google rolled out Personalised Search for all users, logged in or not. With the new Personalised Search, all users are tracked and their search history stored for 180 days.
This allows the search engine to use your Personalised Search history to tailor results to what it thinks the most appropriate. For example, if you search for information on say, Greece and Turkey, then search for holidays, Personalised Search will try and second guess what it is you are looking for and modify results to reflect your Personalised Search history, skewing results towards holidays in Greece and Turkey.
The results you click on will also affect Personalised Search - if you tend to click on results from a preferred site (for example Amazon), this will also be recorded, and Personalised Search will subsequently tend to show you more results from that site.
The launch of Personalised Search has had something of a mixed reaction - some have expressed concerns about privacy and a certain amount of disquiet over the amount of data about individuals being gathered by "Big Brother Google" without their knowledge (users can opt-out of Personal Search if they wish, but the process is by no means obvious), but other users find this sort of functionality very useful in biasing results towards their preferences.
From an SEO perspective, Personalised Search will throw up a new series of problems - one of our new clients was singing our praises in December about the dramatic affect we'd had on their search engine rankings - although it would have been nice to take all the credit for this, I had regretfully tell him that it wasn't really us, it was that he'd been clicking happily on his company's results, and his Personalised Search was duly giving him more of the same ... Oh, well, at least they are also seeing some REAL improvements!