Google Personalized Search Leaves Google Labs

  |  November 30, 2005   |  Comments

Google's personalized search has graduated from Google Labs. It's now available on Google.com and to users on 38 other worldwide Google domains.

Google's personalized search has left Google Labs and is now available to users on 38 Google domains in addition to Google.com.

Google's personalized search reorders search results based on your history of past searches, giving more weight to topics that interest you.

If you search for "fly fishing," your future results for a search on "bass" will be more heavily weighted toward fishing than the musical instrument

Personalized search also maintains a history of your searches on Google, allowing you to revisit previously viewed pages by scanning through your history.

Personalized search is now offered as an option whenever you sign up for a Google account, required for AdWords, Gmail, and other Google services. You can also add personalization using your account management page.

Google made several feature enhancements to the service for this launch. A new bookmark feature lets you mark any page in your search history that's useful and that you want to easily find again. To bookmark a result, click the star next to it. You can also add searchable labels and notes to bookmarks.

Though the feature is nice to have, it's not as useful as Yahoo's MyWeb, which lets you save the full text of Web pages. As with all bookmark services that only save title, URL, and notes, the feature doesn't give the search engine much to chew on when you want to find a page for future viewing. If a page is taken offline, you're out of luck unless you saved a copy of it elsewhere.

The "Remove result" feature has also been enhanced. In addition to removing single URLs from future results, you can also block entire domains. You can remove results for a single search or for all future searches.

Google increased password security for personalized search. As noted, you can remove individual items from Web, images, or news search results. You can pause the service at any time or delete personalization entirely.

If you delete the service, Google will no longer maintain records personally associated with you, but it will keep certain information in separate log systems for development and quality control purposes. Google keeps this data whenever you use Google, regardless of whether you sign up for personalized results or not. See Google's privacy policy for more information.

Google plans to integrate personalized search with Google News, in addition to the current personalized Web and image search results. You'll be able to see the history of past news searches and articles you clicked on.

Since Google only maintains links to news stories for a maximum 30 days after publication, you may not be able to retrieve an article from your history. However, both the title and URL of stories are preserved. You'll be directed to news sites to search for the article using the news service's own site search or archive tools.

Google says the integration of Google News into personalized search is coming "soon."

To get Google Personalized Search, visit its registration page, or see this help page for more information.

Meet Chris at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, December 5-8, 2005.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Sherman

In addition to being Associate Editor of ClickZ's sister publication, SearchDay.com, Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to Online Magazine, EContent, Information Today and other information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.

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