Shaun Mccran

My digital playground


Google is tweaking my search results

...And I don't really like it.

Maybe Google thinks that it is serving up more relevant results as it is filtering down the results based on things I've said or done, and things either Twitter or Facebook contacts have said.

As a test case, I search for 'Gadget show' a UK based tech show on channel five.

Generic results

Google has returned 71,700,000 results in 0.07 of a second. At this point I am logged out of all social networking sites including Google+ and even my Gmail account (the same thing really as they are connected). No articles from this site feature at all in the results pages.

As a second test case I perform the same search, but this time I am logged into every social account I can think of. From what I can see the results are primarily tailored for Google+ and Twitter contacts. Performing the same search for 'Gadget show' yields totally different results.

Tailored results

Far less results, only 12,400,000 rather than 71 million, and in 0.24 seconds, so it is a slower search, but then I'd expect any search with a filter criteria applied to be slower.

Barring one or two entries the results are also totally different. Now an article I had written is now on the first page! The rest of the entries are heavily peppered with Suzi Perry Tweets, that is likely because I follow her on twitter.

Is it better to receive a personalised set of Google search results or a more generic set of results? To me the idea that two different people could search on the same terms and come up with totally different results is wrong.

I can appreciate that Google's business model is serving up content that best fits its audience. After all they are looking for the highest possible click thru / conversion rate and how better to do that than tailor the search responses to your personality.

My issue is that if something has been indexed, and is an ordered set of data, then if you change it you are in effect messing around with what is perceived to be the 'established' internet rankings.

Google have created a search model, they have set the industry standard, but now they are changing it.

Clients always demand to be on 'page 1' of Google's search results. Not 'page 1' if you also happen to be following their Twitter feed.


Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Julian Halliwell's Gravatar Welcome to what Eli Pariser calls <a href="">Th... Filter Bubble</a>.
# Posted By Julian Halliwell | 05/10/2011 00:31
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