Google’s latest move could give everyday users more of an understanding of how it works and modifies their results. It already offers results based on information such as location, previous searches and web history, and now it is to inform users when their results have been modified in this way.
In the next few days, users will start to see notifications popping up to notify them their results have been customised.
The engine will use IP addresses to customise results, although users can sign in to change location. Searchers who are signed in will also be offered results which use previous searches as context.
I like this idea, it will help hone results and ensure users receive more targeted offerings. Could that include paid ads? Google does not say so, but it seems highly likely the move will increase the relevancy of such adverts.
As someone working in the online marketing sector, this is great. In fact, as a consumer, this makes me quite happy – I do not mind viewing adverts which are relevant to my requirements.
However, Google is obviously wary of people’s fear of their details being used this way. It states: “One important note about Web History: it belongs to you and you have complete control over it. You can remove specific items or pause the service at any time.”
I do not think there is much scope for users to get upset- Google is making every effort to keep them informed and they can turn it off. It seems to me this is an important development in search.
Before long, people will expect search engines to “learn” about them and their requirements. It is an important part of developing the way we navigate the web.