Google Brings More “Now” To Search With New Quick Answers

google-now-card-featured Google is bringing more of the capabilities of Google Now to the search box and providing a range of personalized "quick answers" regardless of platform. These new search capabilities focus on "travel and logistics" use cases: reservations, flights, package tracking and calendar entries, among a few others. The content and capabilities will likely expand over time. Google's general objective is to make it easy to get information quickly without having to shift through email or drill down into other Google apps. Google Now has been delivering much of this information to mobile users for s [...]

Google Consolidates Ad Preferences Managers, Now Called Google Ads Settings

Google has been rolling out updates to its Ads Preferences Manager, where users can adjust their account settings for personalized ad delivery, or Interest Based Advertising. The page is now succinctly called Ads Settings. The new Ad Settings page features a cleaner interface, but the main theme is consolidation. Now, instead of separate Ads Preferences Managers for signed-in ads on search and Gmail, ads on YouTube, and ads on the Google Display Network, there’s a single page containing them all. Users can opt-out of personalized ad serving on search and Gmail and on the Google Display [...]

Google Expands Gmail In Search Results With My Orders, My Events & My Reservations

google-g-logo-2012 In August, Google introduced a field test that brings Gmail content in your search results. So if you searched for [my flights] and you had a flight confirmation email in your Gmail account, Google would show you upcoming flights. This is still an opt in field test available to a limited number of US users but Google has announced they have expanded it to cover searches for purchases/orders, event registrations, and hotel reservations. Google said, "you can now search for [my purchases] to see a list of recent online purchases from select merchants and track the packages to see if they†[...]

Goodbye Google Custom Home Pages With Personal Backgrounds

google-home-page-custom Over two years ago, Google enabled users to customize the Google home page with their own image or graphics from a library of images. But now that feature is going away. This is coming to a surprise for many Google users because Google quietly announced this news late on a Friday afternoon saying: Classic Plus is a Google Search feature that lets people upload or select images to use as a background on Users won’t be able to upload new pictures starting from October 16, and we'll turn the service off in November 2012. You'll continue to have access to any images you've [...]

Of “Magic Keywords” & Flavors Of Personalized Search At Google

magic-keywords-featured When is personalized search not personalized search? A recently discovered shift on how Google may alter your search results based on what you -- and others in aggregate -- previously have searched for may have you wondering how to answer that question. To understand the latest development, I think it's helpful to go back and review the "flavors" of personal search that Google has, flavors that often all get mixed together. Let's dive in. Personalization Based On Geography Google has long had personalized search, where various factors are used to provide results tailored to the individual [...]

Why Google “Personalizes” Results Based On Obama Searches But Not Romney

google-algorithm-search-featured Do a search for "Obama," and you might find your subsequent queries for things like "medicare" seemingly personalized based on your initial Obama search. Do the same for Romney, it is doesn't happen. Is Google biased toward Obama, as some are now writing? No. Is it the "filter bubble" of personalization out of control? Perhaps not. In fact, it doesn't even appear to be personalization at all. The news of how searching for Obama can influence your subsequent search results came out in a Wall Street Journal story today, which conducted a battery of tests to explore the phenomenon. This follo [...]

Google Widens Gmail Search Field Trial, Includes Google Drive In Search Results

google-g-logo Here's another small step in Google's effort to centralize your Google search activity: The company is expanding a field trial to include Google Drive documents in search results. At the same time, the existing trial that includes Gmail information in search results is being expanded to work not only from, but also within Gmail itself. Users who opt-in to the trial will be shown a prompt from Gmail and/or Google Drive in the right column of Google's search results, as shown in this Google screenshot: For privacy reasons, the actual results don't show by default; the use [...]

DuckDuckGo’s New Video Targets Google’s “Filter Bubble” Of Personalized Results

duckduckgo-logo DuckDuckGo's ongoing mission to challenge Google (and other search engines, but mainly Google) on privacy issues has taken another turn with the recent launch of a video that accuses Google of putting searchers in a "bubble" of personalized results. The video hits on a few of DuckDuckGo's consistent talking points in its ongoing battle to educate searchers on privacy issues and, more specifically, what it considers to be the benefits of using its own search engine instead of Google. Almost two years ago, DuckDuckGo launched, a website that details how Google tracks its users an [...]

Up Close: Gmail In Google Search Results Field Trial

Gmail Logo Google released a "field trial" today allowing people who enroll to do Google searches and get information from their Gmail messages mixed in with their web results. Don't worry. Only those enrolled see their own messages this way. Below, a look at how it works. If accepted into the program, after you do a search, you'll find matching messages appearing along the right-side of your screen: In the example above, I searched for the name of Barry Schwartz, the news editor here at Search Engine Land. As he's contacted me through Gmail, one of his messages gets highlighted. Notice, however [...]

Page To Anti-Trust Critics: “Actions” & Google+ Are An Essential Part Of Search

google-headquarters-featured-2 Google's taken flak over the past year from critics about how the company has been integrating actions such as booking flights or hotels into its search results. It's also faced criticisms that it is leveraging its search dominance to build its Google+ social network. I found it notable that Google CEO Larry Page, in his "2012 Update from the CEO" letter, essentially pushed back against both criticisms. Page doesn't say he's attacking these criticisms in the update. That's my own reading between-the-lines. But nothing in the letter would have been presented without a good reason. I think [...]

Video: Google’s Susan Wojcicki Keynotes SMX West 2012

Search Marketing Expo Susan Wojcicki, Google's SVP of Advertising, spoke at our recent SMX West search marketing conference in a keynote conversation with Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman. The conversation covered many different topics -- not just the advertising side of Google where Susan is most heavily involved -- from privacy issues to mobile marketing to how Google started in Wojcicki's garage. While we already provided coverage of the keynote via Greg Sterling's live blog of the conversation, we also have several video clips that our readers may have missed -- and that attendees may wa [...]

Survey Paradox: People Like Google But Not What It’s Doing

Last week the Pew Internet Project released findings of a survey on search, personalization and targeted advertising. In a nutshell, survey respondents had a very positive view of search and the quality of search results. Yet the majority gave an unequivocal thumbs down to search personalization (and behavioral targeting). This isn't necessarily a contradiction or paradox in the abstract, but it is when you consider that the most popular search engine is moving aggressively in a direction most people say they don't want search to go. Here's our earlier coverage of the survey: Pew Repo [...]

Pew Report: 65% View Personalized Search As Bad; 73% See It As Privacy Invasion

personalized search Personalized search? Both Google and Bing will tell you that it provides better results. But two-thirds say they don't care. They view personalized search as a "bad thing," a new survey finds. Nearly three-quarters also view gathering data to personalize results to be a privacy invasion. The findings come out of a survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Around 2,000 adults in the US were questioned between January 20 and February 19 of this year as part of a wide-ranging poll about search engine use, though fewer may have answered particular questions. Personalized Sea [...]

Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World”

google-search-plus-world-featured Google's search results are undergoing their most radical transformation ever, as a new "Search Plus Your World" format begins rolling out today. It finds both content that's been shared with you privately along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings. The change is live now, though not everyone will see it until it fully launches over the next few days. It's only for those signed-in to and searching in English. You'll know when it happens, because Google will alert you with a message like this above your search results: The new system will [...]

SMX East Keynote: A Conversation With Eli Pariser

eli-pariser-keynote Good morning! Welcome to day two of our SMX East Conference in New York City. We're beginning today with a keynote conversation with Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble, a book in which Pariser argues that search personalization leads to users being unaware of viewpoints and opinions that are different than their own. We should be getting started at the top of the hour, so feel free to refresh and/or come back to follow along with the discussion. Chris Sherman and Danny Sullivan will be taking care of duties guiding the conversation. Chris has just introduced Eli and we're beginning [...]

Blocking Sites Within Google Goes International

Google announced that the blocking sites feature introduced in the US based results in March this year, is now available internationally. Google's Johannes Henkel said "starting today, you can now block sites on most Google domains." Here is a picture of blocking Matt Cutts blog in Google France: As discussed before, there is a dashboard to manage sites that you block. So you can add new blocked sites, remove sites you blocked and so on. Google did not specify which international Google properties this does not work on, but they did say it should work on "most Google domai [...]

Google News Gets A Bit More Personal

google-news-for-you Google has added a pair of features today that make Google News a little more personal. First, the "News for you" section of Google News now includes stories based on your previous Google News activity. If you click on a lot of articles about a certain topic, this section will begin to show more articles on that topic. Second, the right column has a new feature called "Recommended Sections" that also uses your news history to suggest new topics to add to your customized Google News homepage. These personalized news features can be disabled by using the "Standard US Edition" of Goo [...]

Study Asks, Can You Trust Google’s Personalized Search Results?

New research designed to analyze Google's personalized search results and make the process the search engine uses more transparent has generated interesting and controversial findings. The study examined a number of commonly held notions about personalization, including the idea that personalization is subtle, that it can often surface more long-tail results, and that personalization is based exclusively on a person's past search and web browsing behavior. Among the key conclusions: Despite personalized results, for most people search quality has been declining, results are less personal, refl [...]

Google Buys Twitter Sentiment Analyzer fflick To Support “Contextual Discovery”

Google has acquired fflick, according to TechCrunch. The price is reportedly $10 million. Is it a talent acquisition, a tool acquisition or both? It's both. Using Twitter, the fflick service analyzes and organizes comments about movies: overall, most recent, positive, what your friends have said and so on. This is a very interesting service and it's easy to see why Google might want it. Google developed recommendations service HotPot to help improve Local (after the failed attempt to acquire Yelp). And Google has been doing a kind of sentiment analysis of restaurant reviews on Place [...]

Google May Let You Blacklist Domains To Fight Spam

Ready for do-it-yourself spam fighting? Google has discussed giving searchers the ability to remove domains from its search results. That's according to Matt Cutts, Google's top spam fighter, who's been posting frequently in a Hacker News discussion about Google's search quality/spam blog post from Friday morning. In the discussion, Hacker News user "bradly" asks if Google would consider letting searchers remove domains from search results themselves. Cutts replies, "we've definitely discussed this," and seems to hint that some kind of announcement may be on the way: Matt, Can you spe [...]

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