A study from Pew Internet Research found that 91 percent of people using search engines say their queries almost always help them find the information they were looking for. However, changes being made to personalize search have worried some about privacy issues and the relevance of search results.
In light of personal search filters and the full roll out of Google’s Search, plus Your World, users are seeing the leading search engine integrate their previous search queries, location, cross-platform behavior and Google+ social data into their results. While Google believes this will make search better, consumers have a different take.
Sixty-five percent of respondents to Pew’s survey believe it’s a bad thing that previous web activity affects search results. Twenty-nine percent say they like the idea, but the disparity is clear.
Similarly, 73 percent of respondents are not happy about Google’s practice on the privacy front, which enables the company to cull data on specific users across its platforms to personalize search results. Just 23 percent support the measure. Previous adjustments made by Google and other search engines have satisfied consumers, with 52 percent saying SERPs have yielded better results over time. However, the use of social data in results and tracking previous queries appears to be too much for these users.
This is not the first report indicating that searchers are wary of the new Google searchscape. Brafton recently reported that nearly two-thirds of respondents to a Washington Post survey said they will cancel their Google accounts. Nonetheless, the company maintains the lion’s share of the search market, with the latest figures indicating Google fields more than two-thirds of U.S. queries.