Friday, May 4, 2007 10:59 AM
Earlier this week, I had a great time talking to librarians at WebSearch University. I normally talk with webmasters, so it was great to look at our search index from another perspective -- from that of Google's power searchers. Talking to people and getting such valuable feedback and insight is one of my favorite parts of my job.
One question that came up was about personalized search. Librarians are often researching on behalf of clients, and the audience wondered how to keep these searches separate from personal searches.
One way to do this is to log in to your Google Account when doing personal searches and then log out when doing client searches. This ensures both that you get personalized results and that your client research results aren't influenced by our personalized search algorithms. You can now enable Web History, which can help quite a bit in providing the most relevant, useful search results possible for your personal searches, but you may not want that history impacting research for clients.
Another option is to pause Web History when you do client searches. This will prevent those searches from influencing your personalized search results. But keep in mind that even with Web History paused, the search results you see when you are logged in will still be personalized.
If you are teaching students, note that they might see slightly different search results not only due to personalization, but due to fluctuations between data centers. We route searchers to the data center that will return the fastest results based on factors such as regional location and network traffic, and results at each data center may vary slightly as we update them. In addition, we are always refreshing our index and updating our results, so students may not get exactly the same search results when they do an assignment as when you prepare it.
For more on Web History, visit the FAQ.
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