Google has been personalizing search results for users for a long time, starting with innocent practices like personalization based on geographical location, and later bringing in past search history and recently Google+ shares and circles.
Yesterday, Google launched Personal Results, Profiles in Search, and People and Pages, in search results starting a new beginning of Google’s social search era. Google search now has two modes: global and personalized. Personal search results show content from your Google+ network, and global search results appear as they were before the new Google+ integration.
In the Personal Results mode, you can see post you shared and your friends shared on Google+, even if it’s not a public post. This includes photos, Google+ posts, people and shared links. Personal Results mode still shows global Web results, but these are intermixed with your social results.
I hate personalized results. Every time I use Google, I can’t help but wonder what information I’m missing. Are these the best results? Is my friend seeing better results than me? What about a user from another country or ethnicity? Where are the “real” results and how they look? And whatever happened to search neutrality?
The new changes are agonizing and noisy. It solves no problem for the user, rather it promote Google+ at the expense of the users. So naturally, the first thing I did was turn this thing off. If you are equally annoyed with personal results in your search, here is how to turn it off.
Click on the gear icon in the topbar next to your name, and choose search settings. Alternatively, you can click here – www.google.com/preferences?hl=en
Scroll the page until you see the section ‘Personal results’, and then switch from ‘Use personal results’ to ‘Do not use personal results’. Don’t forget to save.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t completely get rid of personalized results, but it does stop curating my results page based on what my circles are sharing.