Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Thoughts on Personalized Searching

It was just over a year ago that I remember standing in the SES NY expo hall talking with a guy (forgot his name) about personal search and its implications for SEOs like myself. I told him at that time that it was my belief that personalized search results en masse were not going to appear as quickly as one might think. "Within the year?" he asked. "No, I doubt it," I replied.

For the most part, personalized search has been slow to appear. But I can't help but notice that Google routinely provides personalized search results for me now when I'm logged in. Of course I'm always interested in the difference between personalized results and normal results, and typically there's not much difference. But how much information am I willing to give Google, Yahoo or MSN in return for "better results"? As a user, I prefer the idea of three independent, objective entities giving me their best shots as opposed to one entity knowing my deepest thoughts and anticipating my next move. I suspect I'm not alone in this one, either. With all that these companies are trying to build, there's no questioning their end goal. Just this week we hear more news that Google wants to host all of my computer files. Every website we visit must have an account with a profile,user preferences, favorite foods and, oh yeah...how do you like your coffee?

I've always said, the goal of every search is to stop searching. I'm just not willing to give up more personal info to cut down the time on my searches. With more practice, I'll become a better searcher on my own!


  • Amen. I never have been comfortable with the idea of personalized search simply because of the implications that somewhere out there is a storehouse of information about me and my buying and surfing behavoir. And if it's stored, it's accessible. If it's accessible, it has the potential to be misused, stolen, or just plain embarrassingly revealed by accident.

    As it is, I am fairly good at getting the results I'm seeking out of a search engine - and don't feel like I need them to know more about me to help me out.

    By Blogger Laura Deerfield, at 10:28 AM  

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