I like the forms feature. I most particularly use it [on comuters under my physical control] to keep track of my login names on sites I may not visit frequently. I don't want to clear my form history to clear my search history, as they advise and have good reason to believe it would help much if I did. Perhaps the Waltham MA Google center is running some sort of experimental "improvement", but they seem to track more than cookies and browser history
Though I have loved Google for over a decade, I dislike Personalized Search strongly. I've always minimized logins, and clear cookies frequently, but it has been increasingly skewing my Google results for at lest a year.
I know how to craft a search, so why not give me the results I request without adding your proprietary invisible weighting? Or let me set the weighting: I'd been doing that on a wide variety of search engines for years before the Web or Google existed, before Google's search experts (definitely smarter than I) had graduated college, but instead of increasing my options, they've silently decreased/disabled many search refinement options
I can name one good reason, BTW: ease -- not my ease, but their computational load through pre-indexing, etc.
At one time, I used "relatively virgin computers" (e.g. one I normally use for analog data acquisition/analysis) to get impartial results, but in the past year, even fresh OS installs haven't gotten me the same results I get when I travel. I strongly suspect Google is keying their indexes by IP, but changing my Google links to pass through a public proxy may only introduce a different bias, more diffuse, but still not geared to my requests!
Here's a novel idea: search for what I ask for, and give me the options that will help me narrow my search. This sort of "I know better than you" helpfulness is one of the fastest ways to turn me off a system.
IMHO, a lot of the "what-ifs" people are positing have already begun to happen. For example, I run a modest website on the side, under 1.5 million posts, a tiny peripheral mote in the Dust storm of the Internet -- but whether I am logged in or not, I often get results from my own site on my first page of results, even when the topic is less than 24 hours old, is a rare/unique topic on that site; and *is* covered widely by many other sites, larger than my own. That may tickle some webmaster egos, but it's terrible behavior, and I can't shut it off, even with a fresh install.
I'm especially sick of getting the same already-read results on the first page, then finding the answer I wanted on a search from a hotel, cafe -- or a colleague's workplace. (Do I seem as great a fool to them as they sometimes seem to me, just because Google presents information prominently to one, but not the other?