Normally our blog posts are based around some awesome new piece of technology that Google is unveiling which will make everyone’s online life easier, however this post won’t be of the same vein.
At the moment, when you are logged into your iGoogle account, Google will record your preferences in searches, and give you results that match your previous searching patterns. For example, if in the past you have made searches for Belvedere, a town south of Cairns, then Google would give you results based around that, rather than the Vodka. This is all well and good, but what about if you were stinging for a drink, but don’t know what the Belvedere Vodka bottle looks like? You would have to trawl through a whole bunch of irrelevant results to get what you want.
In the past, this has been easy to get around- just log out of your iGoogle account (or put &pws=0 at the end of the URL string) and you would get more accurate results based on global search trends. Google is now looking at abolishing this, so all uses will get personalised results, based on past browsing cookies, regardless of whether they want it or not.
We firmly believe that manipulating the results for the users based on their past searches is a flawed paradigm, and until Google gets out of it, they will be stuck down the wrong path. In the past, people may have only wanted to search for certain fields that they were experienced in, however with the rise of information available, such limited searches we believe doesn’t harness the full power of the internet.
Google themselves have come out and said that around 20% of all searches are unique (although that was years ago, so we feel that number is lower now), which would indicate that people are using many terms and are searching for a number of topics. By limiting what people will find based on past data, users will not be able to expand their knowledge base.
Compared to the past, users are now much more savvy on how to get the most out of their searches, and know how to expand to relevant searches. When Google added suggestions, we felt that it added a huge benefit to the user’s experiences and knowledge based. This seems to be heading in the wrong direction.