Autocuration Signals in My Personalised Google Search Results

I spotted this for the first time last night:

Auto-curation signals in my search results

I had actually read the post in the Google Reader context (so Google knew that), but I wonder: if I hadn’t read the post, would it still have shown up like that?

As far as personalised ranking signals go:

– does the fact that I subscribe to the feed in Google Reader affect the rank of items from that feed in my personalised search results?
– if I have read the post in Google reader, does that also affect the rank of that specific post in my personalised search results?

If I have shared a link – through Google+, or Twitter, for example – are the ranking of those links positively affected in my personalised search results. That is, might social search actually be most useful when the Goog picks up on things I have shared myself, and then “reminds” me of them via a ranking boost in my personalised search results when I’m searching on a related topic?

Maybe tweeting and sharing into the void is actually yet another way of invisibly building search refinements into your personalised search context?

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “Autocuration Signals in My Personalised Google Search Results”

  1. No, this is just turning Google into a personal echo chamber. Perhaps it needs a simple toggle switch somewhere in the left hand menu to swap between “Clean” and “My Focus” modes?

    1. @nick you can turn of personlised results by adding &pws=0 to search url. I’m sure I’ve seen Google results page offering a “view without personalisation” link or similar at foot of page before now, but I can’t see it on any results pages atm?! Hmm….

      Re: echo chamber – ish but not necessarily. Eg, I do tend to share links I think are useful; I also favourite tweets containing links I want to refer to later (eg if on a mobile device), and can see it being quite handy if they were turned up in related searches (eg in case i hadn’t got round to looking at them yet). I also do spend chunks of time looking for things I’ve seen in Reader but not necessarily bookmerked, so if these can be surfaced in Goog results as well as Reader search, that might be handy?

      Or are you in favour of no personalisation and a member of the “we’re doomed by the filter bubble” camp?! ;-)

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