How to turn off Google Personalized Search

in Google/Tutorials & Samples

In case you did not know it, Google uses a feature called Google Personalized Search on all your search results. With Google Personalized Search, Google “personalizes” search results for each individual person based on what Google already knows about them and their search history. This means that, when you and some else search for the same keywords, different results will be displayed based on what Google already knows about you. Here is what Google had to say about Personalized Search:

When a user is logged into a Google Account, all of his or her searches on Google Search are recorded into Google Web History. Then, when a user performs a search, the search results are not only based on the relevancy of each web page to the search term, but the service also takes into account what websites the user previously visited through search results to determine which search results to determine for future searches, to provide a more personalized experience. The feature only takes effect after the user has performed several searches, so that it can be calibrated to the user’s tastes.

The funny thing is that, by default, Personalized Search is the default setting from Google. Fortunately, Google allows you to turn off personalized search so that you can do a search without the personalized filtering.

Verbatim: Google’s Unfiltered Search Results

Google offers a Verbatum option for your search results. Verbatim disables personalized search and looks for an exact match to the words you are searching for. In Google’s own words:

Since then, we’ve received a lot of requests for a more deliberate way to tell Google to search using your exact terms. We’ve been listening, and starting today you’ll be able to do just that through verbatim search. With the verbatim tool on, we’ll use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements such as:

  • making automatic spelling corrections
  • personalizing your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • including synonyms of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
  • finding results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops])
  • searching for words with the same stem like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
  • making some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]

How to Enable Vertabum Search

To enable “Verbatim”, simply click on the “Search Tools” button. Once you have selected the Verbatim Search Tool, your search results will be unfiltered.
google-personalization-off

One important thing to note is that verbatim mode does not turn off localized search. Google and most search engines use your IP Address to determine your location and return search results that are relevant to your location. There is no way to turn off location-based search other than using a Proxy.

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Mifty Yusuf is a Montreal-based software developer who enjoys playing with new web technologies as well as comic books and illustrations. He beleives that, no matter what the question is, the answer is always Batman!

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