Google Users Dislike Personalized Search Results [Survey]

Should Google’s search results be personalized based on past searches and information from social networking sites? Forty-five percent of respondents to a recent Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) Google Search survey said no, compared to 15.5 percent who said yes.

Another 39.1 percent of respondents said they liked the idea of personalized searches, but were worried about privacy. Those who said no (45.4 percent) said they think everyone should see the same results when searching for the same keyword.

This AYTM survey of 400 Internet users is almost a month old. The survey results were published two days after the launch of Google’s Search Plus Your World, but didn’t get much notice until eMarketer wrote about the findings this week.

Survey respondents also weren’t that hot on Google+. Only 19.3 percent said they use Google+, with the remaining respondents saying they either have an account but don’t use it, they don’t use it, or they don’t even know what Google+ is.

Would personalized search results make anyone more likely to use Google+? While 7.5 percent said yes, 48.1 percent said maybe, and 44.4 percent said no.


Personalized search results debuted in 2005 for signed-in Google users; Google’s personalized results were rolled out to users who weren’t logged in in 2009. Some have expressed concern that personalization is causing a problem known as the “filter bubble,” which results in search engines only showing you a narrow view of the world.

Google’s privacy policy was the subject of a separate AYTM survey. Fifty-three percent heard about Google’s new policy as of the time the survey was taken (Jan. 31), and 57 percent of respondents believed Google collecting and keeping data from users is a violation of privacy. As for the rest, 15 percent said it helps Google enhance the user experience; 10.3 percent weren’t bothered either way; 7.3 percent said they don’t use Google’s products; and 24.8 percent didn’t have enough information.

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