For some, it is a question about whether Google serves “the same Web” for the millions of users who rely on Google as their principal portal. For others, it is a matter of relevance, and whether the infusion of data gleaned from the personal interests of one’s friends impedes the visibility of material those friends might never have seen. At any rate, Google’s swift response this week to negative reviews of its first trials of personally adjusted search results, including Jon Mitchell’s fiery indictment, clearly demonstrate that it’s at least as sensitive as its own users.
It’s now extremely easy for any Google+ user to turn on and off personalized search results (called “Search + Your World”) at will, with a toggle switch in the upper right corner – part of Google’s rollout of changes today. Now, as a follow-up to our first tests of personalized search prior to the rollout, RWW looks into whether leaving the feature turns on necessarily improves the relevance of search results in various categories. At issue: Does Google elevate links to discussions about what you’re looking for on its own services, above what you’re looking for?