Sunday, December 6, 2009

Personalized Search for Everyone

Google:

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.

I suppose this makes sense, and even without cookies Google could figure out the history, but it still creeps me out. You can turn it off by clicking on “Web History.” SEO just became a lot more unpredictable.

4 Comments

"even without cookies Google could figure out the history"

Really? Through what mechanism?

They can use the IP address and user agent, for example.

"They can use the IP address and user agent, for example."

Social norms are an odd thing.

I didn't even think of that route because I'm assuming Google wants to keep the "don't be evil" tagline, and that seems like it'd step over some line of social norms.

Cookies are one thing, but if Google ever started tracking that way, I'd assume there'd be widespread outrage.

Yes, I’m not saying they’d do that, just that the information is available.

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