Customise your Google Search

If you use Google search whilst logged in to your Google account, you’ll probably have noticed something new by now. There’s some little control buttons appearing next to your search results. So what’s that all about?

Launched last week (and unusually for a Google implementation, rolled out across the board), Google’s new SearchWiki allows users to change the way their searches are handled. Using the little toggle buttons you can move search results up, or down, or delete them entirely from your search. You can also add comments about each search result. Of course, this only changes what you see, when you’re searching whilst logged into your own account, so you can’t just go around deleting your competitor’s listing (admit it, you did think of that, didn’t you?), but it’s a way of making your search results more relevant to you.

Google’s blog on the SearchWiki says it is “an example of how search is becoming increasingly dynamic, giving people tools that make search even more useful to them in their daily lives”, and that it’s one of their ways of striving to improve users’ search experience.

What Google aren’t making clear, though, is what they’re doing with the data received from users’ result preferences, or even if they’re collecting data. It seems highly unlike Google to release a function like this as a standalone toy – more likely is the idea that they’ll somehow incorporate the data they collect into the search algorithm in general, or at least use it to create a sophisticated personalised search (at the moment the wiki just brings back the results where you put them last time you searched that – a personalised search would take all these changes into account when bringing back results on every search.)

Reading List:
SearchWiki: Google’s Blog

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