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There has been a lot of debate going around on Google's new obsession with personalised search and how it really wants to bring in a different orientation to search results based on preferences users have. Well first of all let’s be clear that personalised search has been in existences for over 5 years now as users have been presented with results based on their behaviour, interests and search patterns, but the recent changes are much bigger than anything that happened before. It’s sort of playing on a user’s sub-conscious, trying to read what actually they are looking for, using social signals like Google Plus and then offering them tailored results.
Do users want them? Well it doesn’t seem so. A recent study done in US on a sample size of 2,000 showed that 65% people believed personalisation was a “bad thing” since it limit’s the information and the search results that one may see. Well they certainly have a point here. What they are actually saying is that the information that they miss because of personalisation would be far important that what they were offered when they searched in a “logged-in” mode.
On another note, 73% said they “will not” consider personalized search at all, since they felt it was an invasion of their privacy because private information held by Google is being used without their consent. The fact remains that personalized search has been happening for a long time now even if you users are not logged in and that most people haven’t objected. It’s only now because people really don’t understand the ways that personalization can be helpful. But the reality is that search engines are trying to go far and make advancements at a level that is greater than the education that user’s have about the reasons or benefits of personalisation. If personalisation is to be accepted globally then there is a lot that Google and Bing need to do in convincing people about it first!