• Mary

    Great find Greg!

    I appreciate that you noted the trend the study results indicate, but tempered it with a caution about the population surveyed, and also people’s aversion to change. Many I’m sure will jump on the bandwagon and harshly criticize Google for claiming to modify search based on the user preference, while not doing so.

    It would be interesting to see concrete survey metrics on what the average Google user search habits are, and also the percent of Google users who are unaware or uninformed about Google’s recent organic search and privacy changes.

  • http://www.seokoeln.de schikowski

    As far as I know, a survey with 400 people is not representative.

  • davep

    @schikowski Perhaps, but I bet it is 400 more non-Google people than Google asked if they wanted it.

    If Google must continue to divert attention from Search (which it used to be brilliant at); it should at least ask its users what they want – rather than building unwanted products like Google+ or just copying other successful products and then trying to force the world to use them…

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi all-

    I’m not “big” on the personalization, either, especially when Google gets it wrong (like when I travel and I get the wrong language) and I am forced to log in to get the desired language. I shouldn’t have to log in to get certain things.

    My personal observations through years of usability testing search results is that people have privacy concerns but also feel powerless to really do anything about it. Not a good brand impression….

    I do understand the opposite point of view, though. When Google does get my location right, and I do geo-based web searches, I tend to get the results I want. Personalization can and does help Google deliver better results…maybe at the cost of privacy. And maybe not.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Danny, I agree with you. Framed as: “Would you like Netflix to recommend the same movies to everyone, or base recommendations on your stated preferences…” the point of personalization would resonate more with respondents.

    DaveP, I’d be willing to bet quite a lot that Google’s done much much better than surveying people about what they’d like, they’ve done split tests to see how they react to different treatments, and adopted those elements of personalization that people respond positively to.

    Shari, just got back from the Yucatan, and I concur. Very frustrating that Google and many other websites flipped me to Spanish by default despite the fact that my browser has a long history of preferring English.

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    A sample of 400 sounds awfully small, but in any case, the survey asked about two different things in one question: “Do you like the idea of personalizing search results based on past searches and info from your social networking sites?”

    Google “Personalized Search” based on the user’s previous search likes and dislikes has been around for a while, but social results are a new–and fundamentally different–feature.

  • http://hauntingthunder.wordpress.com/ Maurice Walshe

    @schikowski 400 is low but many election polls are done on samples of 1000 so 400 is not a totaly invalid sample.

  • http://www.webologymarketing.com Alex Avery

    Greg, you mentioned that the responses were mostly negative or outright hostile towards the idea of having personalized search results based on past searches and info from your social networking sites.

    However, it could be argued that the folks who chose the answer “Yes, but I do have some privacy concerns” were in fact open to the idea of personalized results. They may have been a little concerned about how personal the results would be, but still had an open mind.

    That said, when looking at the pie graph above, the majority of responses could be seen as positive. It’s interesting how these questions could leave the overall outcome up for interpretation.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • http://www.utahseopros.com Brandon Swenson

    From an SEO perspective, I would say that the majority of individuals who would like to see results in the SERPS exactly the same, keyword to keyword, is most likely not going to happen. The search engines have done quite a good job at making it harder for websites to rank and for SEO’s to compete. There are so many factors we have to look at now to rank not just in one search engine, but regionally, socially, and organically in that search engine. Nice post SEL.

  • http://www.ppcbullet.com Ewan Heming

    I think that personalisation in search isn’t necessarily the same as for other types of website/software: A search engine needs to know what someone is looking for based on a few keywords, but context has a significant impact on meaning, so augmenting keywords with data such as history and social connections should eventually lead to a better understanding of user intent, and thus is an important step in the progress of the technology, not just a nice “feature”.

  • http://pissedoffwoman.wordpress.com Pissed Off Woman

    Personalization is crap any way you look at it.  I would rather have what I’m looking for a little lower down in the search results, or have to type in two words instead of one, than have Google know all this stuff about me.  It’s called PRIVACY, assholes.