Google Personalized Search
Google Personalized Search is a feature of Google Search. All searches on Google Search are associated with a browser cookie record. Then, when a user performs a search, the search results are not only based on the relevance of each web page to the search term, but also on which websites the user (or someone else using the same browser) visited through previous search results. This provides a more personalized experience that can increase the relevance of the search results for the particular user, but also has some side effects. The feature only takes effect after several searches have been recorded, so that it can be calibrated to the user's tastes.
Personalized Search was originally introduced on March 29, 2004 as a beta test of a Google Labs project. On April 20, 2005, it was made available as a non-beta service, but still separate from ordinary Google Search. On November 11, 2005, it became a part of the normal Google Search, but only to users with Google Accounts.
Beginning on December 4, 2009, Personalized Search was applied to all users of Google Search, including those who are not logged into a Google Account.
Several concerns have been brought up regarding the feature. It decreases the likelihood of finding new information, since it biases search results towards what the user has already found. It also introduces some privacy problems, since a user may not be aware that their search results are personalized for them, and it affects the search results of other people who use the same computer (unless they are logged in as a different user). The feature also has profound effects on the search engine optimization (SEO) industry, since search results are not ranked the same way for every user – thus making it more difficult to identify the effects of SEO efforts.
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