On Friday the 4th of December Google made what is probably the biggest change ever to its search engine. It affects every one of us who uses Google but Google did it without any notice or media attention. This post by Danny Sullivan explains it more clearly and eloquently than I could possibly ever do. Thanks Danny.
I find this very troubling, the reason I find it troubling is that most people will not even know that it is there. It is not like user personalization is new and for a long time if you were logged into a Google account, Google were tracking your history. Now though everybody’s search history is being tracked and it is an opt out not an opt in feature. Many people will not want this but will not even know its happening. I am not saying that it may not be helpful it may be to some people. Personally, I would never want customized search results as determined by Google and the absolutely most annoying thing about this is that I cannot opt out permanently. I can only opt out each time I search. I am trying to imagine if Faceook, MSN or Yahoo decided to do this and store everybody’s information wihtout telling them to then use it to demographically target them in the future, I am pretty sure they would not get away with it. Why can Google do this without giving notice. Why? because they are Google no other good reason they have the absolute power they can do what they want.