Ever wondered how Google can read your mind? It all boils down to Google’s personalised search results.
Many Google users are unaware that search results differ depending on whether the user is logged into a Google account or not. In other words, if a person is logged in to their Google account, they are seeing a different search result to other users.
Am I Logged In?
You can tell if you are logged into your Google account by seeing your profile picture in a circle in the top right corner. If you have not uploaded a picture, you will see your initial(s) in the circle.
If you are logged into a Google account, Google will give you your own set of “personal” search results, which will be different from everyone else’s. Your search results are customised based factors like gender, age, geography, previous searches, and more. Google increases the ranking of pages you’ve clicked on before. This means that you are likely to see the same pages over and over.
Why Does Google’s Personalisation Hurt Businesses?
While Google is motivated to deliver the optimal search for its users, this could prevent users from finding new service providers, for example. Google will keep giving you pages you have used before and while you are seeing the result ranking high, other people are not necessarily. You need to be aware that just because your own company is ranking high in your search results, it does not mean that it is up there for other people’s searches. You may have a false sense of your business’s visibility on the net.
How To Stop Google Personalised Results For Future Searches:
Check to see whether you are logged in to Google on the upper right-hand corner of the Google search page. Hover your cursor over the circle and it will tell you the account you are logged in to. Then click on the circle; click “Manage your account” on the right; click “Privacy and personalization”; scroll down to “Personal results in search” (on the right) and clicking the upper right, toggle the switch off.
The personalisation also applies to suggestions that Google gives when you start to type a search. Turning off personalisation will give you common public suggestions instead. This is far better in terms of understanding trends and conducting research.
Alternatively, you can turn it off by clicking the flywheel left of the circle in the upper right-hand corner. You then click “Your data in search” and scroll down to “Personal results” and click. This takes you to the same settings page.
The fact is that Google really is the best in its class when it comes to search engines. Benefits like the Chrome browser tie-ins make it a lot easier and more convenient than most others. However, knowing that there is a lot of unseen, algorithmic adjustment taking place when you perform even a basic action, like searching one or two-word terms on Google is disconcerting. Knowing that there’s not much we can do to get a neutral result is even more so.
Google’s algorithms – aided by AI software – are outside the understanding of the average user, meaning that even lawmakers, privacy watchdogs and advocacy groups cannot grasp them. That could be problematic for Google in terms of privacy and legislation.