“All a user has to do to turn off personalized search is to add &pws=0 to the URL of a search query” Matt Cutts – SMX Advanced 2007

As easy as that was to repeat for every search, it looks like Google is finally listening to users, who would like to be able to know that their results are being altered from what others see, and would like an easy way to disable that.

Shortly after personal search became “no longer optional”, many different people have written about not liking it, and I wasn’t the only one that didn’t.

Why should we have to sign out of Google and services I might want, just so I can see what someone else sees in a search? It’s completely dumb… but it may be changing back.

Just now I just searched something with the Google toolbar, and noticed the order had changed from a few minutes ago, so I looked up to see if I was still logged in, and I was.

Then randomly, I hit the search button again, and the results shuffled before my eyes and, another graphic came up telling me that my results were now personalized.

Following “More Details” shows me this, where I’m offered to see the results without their “improvements”, and I end up back at the same search.

I’ve thought that its quite obnoxious not to allow me to just turn it off, so thanks Google, for giving us what we used to have… An easier way t oturn off personal search.

Now I just have one more suggestion:

10 thoughts on “Thanks Google, for Personal Search Notification

  1. As far as I know, there’s been no easy way to easily disable or enable your personalized search results without either disabling your entire Google web history, or using an add on for Firefox, or signing out of Google altogether.

    It sounds to me like you disabled history altogether… Can’t say I blame ya!

  2. There’s no way to have your history saved and not have personalized search. I’ve pursued the poitn with Google and gotten the “it’s not combination many people want” line. Seems to be trivial to me to implement, but then that puts you in charge and Google.

    Here’s a link to some FF search plugins that put the non personalized search as a choice in your upper right search bar


    graywolfs last blog post..Guest Posts Like them or Dislike Them

  3. Fear the Go0g! You will be assimilated! Interesting. I didn’t actually know they did that. I try to keep the level of info I’m sending them down to a minimum.

  4. Looks like they are tracking geo-location by IP, I got this message today when searching for a backpack:

    When possible, Google will customize your search results based on location and/or recent search activity. Additionally, when you’re signed in to your Google Account, you may see even more relevant, useful results based on your web history.

    The following information was used to improve your search results for dakine terminal:


    Your approximate location has been identified as Portland metro area, US.

    Based on your IP address: 204.XXX.X.XX What’s this?

    Sign in to use a specific location.

    — I was signed out when I got this message this morning. It makes me wonder how many queries they track from IP’s and how long they keep the data on record.

    Greg-Beddors last blog post..Search Engine Optimization

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