We’ve had a few weeks now to get used to Universal Search, although the effects still seem minimal on this side of the Atlantic, but for those who stay logged in to their Google accounts (unlike me) what about Personal search? Initially hailed by a host of bandwagon jumpers, there is the beginnings of a suggestion that not everyone is so enamoured anymore. The big question is what is it for?
Supposedly it learns what you search for and what results you find useful so it can tailor future results to your preferences. But hang on; if you were happy with what you got the first time you searched on a phrase why are you searching again? Surely to try different sites because you didn’t get everything you wanted from the first sites. If you are presented with more of the same you’re likely to find them less useful too. To me it seems as if the only people who will find this useful are those who use search engines as a universal interface – doing the same searches time and again because they can’t remember or don’t bookmark the sites that they like. Yet these could very well be the people who aren’t savvy enough to take out accounts in the first place.
We could end up with a situation where the experts and the net illiterates are the ones who don’t use personal search while the ones in the middle do. But only the experts will get the results they want because they know when to turn off their accounts. All seems a bit Alice through the Looking Glass doesn’t it?
In the meantime I’m keeping my account signed out except when I’m using Analytics or Webmaster Tools.