Last week, Google announced that it would be extending 'Personalised Search' to everyone, regardless of whether they are signed into their Google accounts or not. Since the announcement, we've sat back and watched as the rest of the search world has blogged, tweeted and blogged some more, about what the news means to the industry. The time has come for us to let you all in on our thoughts! You lucky lot! The thing is, we like Google.
Whether you're a webmaster or just an Internet-user, the Big G has something for everyone. So much time and effort has been invested in developing tools for us all to use, many of which are provided by Google, free of charge. We should be eternally grateful, should we not? Take Google Analytics for example. This is perhaps the most commonly used and comprehensive pieces of tracking software available on the market. Almost everyone uses it - from those who run websites in their spare time, to many of the leading digital agencies across the globe. The fact is, for most of us, when we think 'Internet', we think 'Google', and yet despite the increasing synonymity, Google is not the Internet - a point which leads us back to Personalised Search. By using Google, visitors are effectively agreeing to having their search habits monitored.
The information recorded is then used to inform the results which appear against future queries, hence 'Personalised Search'. Google is effectively judging which webpages you are likely to find interesting, based on the pages which you have previously viewed. It is at this point we are led to question whether Google has the best interests of the user in mind. The idea of delivering custom results to each user is a good one and we can see the reasons for such a decision, but one of the things we really like about the web is that you are able to search for any topic and find information and views which appose those of your own. This makes the web more interesting and also lets each of us develop our own thoughts and form stronger opinions on topics. If we are simply served sites which offer very similar views, is Google not letting us and our continual education down? Google clearly has a long-term aim to push 'spammy' sites out of it's index, and it sees click-through rates as a means of doing so.
We've no issue with this, but at the same time, does this whole concept of delivering the same websites to you over and over, not make it extremely difficult for new websites to rank well? We're far from proposing a Google boycott, but we do like variety. Several opinions are more valuable than just one (in terms of distinguishing the quality of content), so why not attribute a proportion of SERP rankings on more than just a single, personal search?