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Google Offers Personalized Search 318

Ryan Barrett writes " Google is just overflowing with news today. Along with the recently announced UI redesign, they've launched a personalized search engine on Google Labs. It's still beta, but it looks pretty cool. (Note that it probably uses technology acquired when they bought Kaltix last year.) Other announcements include Web Alerts, a 'numrange' command, and image search built into Google News."
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Google Offers Personalized Search

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  • by adamgreenfield ( 245052 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:33PM (#8707123) Homepage
    I think I'll stick with traditional Google. I like the non-cluttered look of the main page and the lack of Yahoo-ism (read: 50,000 things under the search box). But hey, to each his own and options are great things, as long as you stick with resonable defaults and you can always turn them off.

    Google Labs [] come out with some awsome other things as well like the Google Deskbar [] and my personal favorite Google Voice Search [] (Also noteworty is Google Sets [], however I can't find many uses for it yet).
  • No Safari (Score:5, Informative)

    by gtrubetskoy ( 734033 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:34PM (#8707141)
    Sorry, Google Personalized does not currently support Safari.

    oh well...

    • Re:No Safari (Score:3, Informative)

      by millahtime ( 710421 )
      "Sorry, Google Personalized does not currently support Safari."

      Check your cookies and see if they are enabled. I don't see why it wouldn't work in safari. Probubally a security setting.
      • Re:No Safari (Score:3, Informative)

        by Roogna ( 9643 )
        Specifically, if you load Safari with the Debug menu enabled, and change the user-agent. Then search. You'll see why they don't support Safari yet. The javascript they've got going for the slider doesn't work quite right under Safari.

        I'd bet that Safari support will come soon enough, either from Apple fixing whatever their handling of this paticular javascript is, or google simply getting it to work.
    • Re:No Safari (Score:5, Insightful)

      by a.ameri ( 665846 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:54PM (#8707395)
      Interestingly it is working perfectly well with Konqueror. I wonder what Konqueror has, that safari is lacking, that has forced them not to support Safari right now. Google Personalized seems to be using heavy use of JavaScript, and as far as I know, Konqueror and Safari both use KJS for as a JavaScript interpreter. So...

      On a side note, I think I actualy like the idea of this personalized search. Someone up here mentioned that s/he prefers the traditional search engine, cause it is uncluttered. Well, I can't see how google's personalized pages are any more cluttered than the traditional search page. They look completely the same, just in the personalized page a scroll bar is added to the search result page.

      I think this actually opens a new horizon in google. You can have the traditional original search, by just moving the scroll bar to the left, or you can get a specific seacrh on a specific topic that interests you.

      They might seem totaly unrelated, but given the current technologies that are comming out of Google Labs, am I the only one who is being reminded of the golden ages of Bell Labs? If the Google guys really continue to push their innovation engine with this speed, I don't see how even a monopoly should be able to crush them.

      I know, I sound like a fanboy, but who isn't a fan of google? really...
    • Re:No Safari (Score:5, Informative)

      by Drakonian ( 518722 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:01PM (#8707473) Homepage
      Where do you see this? I'm on Safari and the Personalized Search [] seems to load up fine for me, and searches seem to work. I didn't see Safari mentioned in the FAQ. What am I missing?
      • Re:No Safari (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lord Grey ( 463613 ) *
        The searches work, but you can't personalize them dynamically with a slider. Instead of the slider, which should be above the hit list, you see the error message.
      • Re:No Safari (Score:5, Informative)

        by .com b4 .storm ( 581701 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:37PM (#8707851)

        At the top of the search results, it will say "Sorry, Google Personalized does not currently support Safari." (right next to the link that says 'Edit Profile'). If you change your User Agent, the page will reload and in that spot where the error message was will be a gauge you can click on for "Min" and "Max" personalization.

        It says: Tip: Drag the slider (above) to the right to personalize results. Personalized results are marked by [little google balls here]

        It sort of works in Safari, but it isn't draggable, you have to click - and it misjudges where you clicked relative to the gauge. It does seem to change the results though. This is what the "personalized" searching is really doing - if you are in Safari and you can't use the gauge, all you get is slightly different results from a regular Google search. There's not much "personalized" about it. Hope that clarifies what people are seeing here...

    • Re:No Safari (Score:5, Informative)

      by nicky_d ( 92174 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:03PM (#8707497) Homepage

      Well, it kinda supports Safari - if you enable Safari's debug menu [] and use the Debug menu to set your user agent to, say, MSIE 6, you get the slider. I can move in in crude and fairly arbitrary steps by clicking either side of it, but when I try to drag the slider, Safari just starts dragging the slider image - either the position marker or the background bar - just like it drags all other images.

      So it's not really usable, but you can see how it works and get a taste of the results.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:34PM (#8707143)
    I wish Google would fix their searching of mailing lists. I would love to see duplicates filtered, messages ordered by date, and indexing by subject.
  • by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:34PM (#8707144) Homepage Journal
    If you're curious what a personalized version of Google News might look like, take a look at Findory News []. Findory learns from the news you read, searches thousands of sources, and finds articles that match your interests.
    • by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:42PM (#8707242) Homepage Journal
      Hmm. Uncool, for me at least. I get more than enough personalized coverage from other sources - I already know where to go. What I rely on Google News for is a good snapshot of stuff that I haven't already heard about before. Now, if they would integrate it so that one of the boxes on the standard news site was "Personal" and one was "Local" (to balance out, L-R), that would be cool... but I think that the focus on just showing the viewer what they want to see is out of place for a news portal. Just my two cents, of course.
      • Interesting comment. So, clearly Google News is useful to you since it shows you stuff you haven't heard about. Do you mean that a personalized version of Google News isn't useful to you? Or that Findory News isn't what you would expect from a personalized version of Google News?

        The idea behind personalized news is to help you find interesting articles. For example, I tend to be interested in tech, science, and world news, and specifically interested in UK news, news related to Linux, and news about Ya
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:36PM (#8707165)
    Wow, and the day isn't even over yet. When's Slashdot ever going to get a Google icon?
  • Google web page (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joeware ( 672849 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:37PM (#8707183)
    I use the Google toolbar and never really go to the Google webpage. Will the Google toolbar be able to access the personalized profiles for personalized searches? I haven't spotted the answer yet. I'll try the personalized searches, but don't plan on using anything but the Google toolbar for 95% of my searches.
  • I might have to fire up Mozilla or IE, since it doesn't support Safari just yet.

    But I could see where this could be useful to me. Right now, my only problem with Google is that it returns too many results. By letting it know I'm not interesting (usually) about sports, religion, and other issues, I can start to specify what I want. And if I need more general, that's what the slider is for.

    Nice idea. Be interesting to see how they handle things (like can I make an "account"), and then there's the privacy issue. I don't mind Google sells the data in a generic sense, as in "people interested in Clark also research political books" or some such, as long as they don't say "John Hummel has a fetish for Swedish schoolgirls with giganticly think eyebrows".

    'Cause if that information got out, man would my face be red.
    • "John Hummel has a fetish for Swedish schoolgirls with giganticly think eyebrows".

      'Cause if that information got out, man would my face be red.

      Don't worry. I don't think anyone wants to know about that.

      I feel dirty now.
  • Google updated (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SKPhoton ( 683703 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:38PM (#8707195) Homepage
    Google is of course known for its simple interface and accurate results. Now they're expanding into becoming more of a portal by providing more services. It's nice to see they don't make their pages clunky and overloaded.

    Also, interestingly enough, Google has released their new web API []. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
  • by Potor ( 658520 ) <farker1@gmai l . c om> on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:40PM (#8707215) Journal
    I am not certain this is a good thing. Obviously, setting up filters in a search by search manner is helpful. But pre-filtering all web searches based on a menu of categories seems to me to be a great way to skewer, not filter, your results.
    • Perhaps you should look at the search before commenting on it. It does not filter results when the slider is at "Min", but filters nearly everything when the slider is at "Max". You don't eliminate the ability to get to some results with it.
  • No registration! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:40PM (#8707219) Homepage
    One of the coolest things about Google, IMO is the amount of customization they can offer storing content locally using cookies without needing any kind of registration. Nothing more annoying than having to fill out a huge form on every other website you visit, especially given that most of them ask for WAY more information than is really needed.

    Google groups, where they do need registration has a form that asks for:
    Password confirmation

    Google rocks!
    • Re:No registration! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MushMouth ( 5650 )
      They don't need a registration, they know who you are already. Probably more about you than you would feel comfortable with. One question. Is there any way for me the user to erase my user trails on google?
    • Re:No registration! (Score:3, Informative)

      by juhaz ( 110830 )
      Well, not needing registration has the bad side of not being able to get your preferences if you happen to use another machine. Or change browsers. Or need to reset your profile (and cookies) for some other reason.

      I wouldn't mind ggroups type very small registration form if it allowed to get settings everywhere, especially now as something like this has something bit more tedious to repeat than the simple things they've have had before. Especially if it would be parallel to the current system instead of re
  • by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:41PM (#8707229) Homepage
    Okay, so the categories are:


    There should be a subcategory of "Porn" under each and every one of those.
  • by ralf1 ( 718128 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:41PM (#8707238)
    "Place hard core lesbian porn at top of search" really should be an option.
  • If you can use numrange to search for a certain price range in Froogle, that would make Froogle much more useful, which presently does not even have the ability to sort by price.
    • If you can use numrange to search for a certain price range in Froogle, that would make Froogle much more useful, which presently does not even have the ability to sort by price.

      Perhaps its new, but I was just using froogle this morning, and saw that it had the ability to sort by price, as well as filter with min / max price settings.
  • 466453 = Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:43PM (#8707255)
    Google seems to registered has registered [] for Google Number Service [] on cell phones. The idea is that users just send the numbers on a phone keypad for their serarch query, with Google doing the magic of figuring out what you meant. The number 466453 was selected because it's the number you get if you type out "Google" that way.
  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:43PM (#8707258) Homepage
    inspite of adding so many features over the years, is that none of these features clutter the front page. is still just as simple as it was when they first came out - yes, they do have different categories such as images/newsgroups etc, but the interface is still almost the same and the extra stuff never cries for attention.
    Even the local search feature and other features like the Google calculator etc kick in only when you make a search by making intelligent (almost) guesses - so it will be interesting to see how Google implements the personalized search when it finally goes out of beta.
    More power to you Google!
  • by ashitaka ( 27544 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:48PM (#8707325) Homepage
    Under Regions:

    Central America
    Middle East
    Polar Regions
    South America
    United States - (Points to individual States)

    OK. So how do I choose Canada?
  • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:49PM (#8707333)

    I wish that google would add an ability to limit their usenet archive searches by # of messages in a thread.

    Many times, I only find one solitary question (1 message) posted, without any answers. :(

  • I dunno if it's just me, but I'm constantly amazed by Google's ability to make beautiful interfacew while sticking to very ordinary fonts and graphics - completely debunks any theory about beautiful interfaces. The best part is that it looks good even on the 100,000th visit, which means that the beauty is subtle enough to make you appreciate it, while still not overwhelming you.

    And I wonder who creates those beautiful Google logos for different occassions, and also the beautiful icons [].
  • by molo ( 94384 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#8707361) Journal
    There's only one feature missing from Google that I would really like: use of the HTML <link> tag with relations of "prev" and "next" for the search results page. That would enable easy navigation via the Mozilla or Opera site navigation bar.

    Maybe next time.

  • I was hoping to enter some deranged parallel googleverse by googling "Google" and viewing the cached version, then googling "Google" again from that cached google of Google.

    But no, nothing interesting happened. It would have been sort of cool if all the returned results were all cached instances instead of fresh instances.
  • by broothal ( 186066 ) <> on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:52PM (#8707373) Homepage Journal
    I think this is a great idea, although I'd like to be able to check boxes of stuff I don't like to see. Imagine being able to tick off commercial sites as a negative. Then, when I'm searching for info on my new digital camera [] I won't have to wade through dozens of commercial sites offering it for sale.
    • And reviews of the item. And reviews of the sites offering it for sell. And sites that link to sites offering it for sell. And everything about KX-234KR. And products related to KX-234KR, etc...

      That too is my biggest google beef - try to find info about a product and all you can find is how to buy the product.
  • by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:55PM (#8707407) Homepage Journal
    Hmm ... There are no options to remove SCO or Microsoft from the results :(

    nick ...
  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:56PM (#8707422) Homepage
    Google has changed its looks drastically. Methinks this is due to the following reason:

    1. Every search engine copies the original google look - i.e., tabbed sections for images/groups etc

    2. Every search engine also copies the sponsored results look, i.e, Adwords in blue/green boxes on the right and ad results on the top.

    So Google has gone ahead and implemented a distinct look by removing the tabbed sections (dunno if this is good or bad) and removing the boxes from the Adword results, and instead just separating them by a thin blue line (looks good in my opinion).
  • I've put up a mirror of Google's front page. Old Google []
  • Wildcard searching (Score:4, Informative)

    by startup.cmd ( 765643 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:58PM (#8707443)
    Another useful Google feature is search globbing. It works just like command line wildcards. Use the * operator inside of quoted phrases when searching, and Google will substitute any word in its place. Here's an example:
    "* processor" []
  • If you're looking for a simple start page, try Yavista [].

  • I've been really wanting a google account for some time. The ability to actually log into an account and change settings that will stay set. I don't want to have to turn off their adult content filter every time I sit down. I don't want to have to tell the image search engine to default to the smallest pictures. Why can't I say that I don't ever want to see PDFs? Adding a user account to google would significantly increase the functionality for high frequency users and I think it's about time they impl
  • by Merlinium ( 678576 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:00PM (#8707462) Journal
    Am I the only one that seems to have seen a rather disturbing trend of late with Google searches? Seems like every time I do a search nowadays, I end up with the first few pages (sometimes every page) of websites that are only interested in selling me the Item I was trying to find more information about, to me this is annoying as hell, as all I wanted was some specs on the product, I don't need to be shown 50 different websites that sell the damn thing and have the same Stupid General Info sheet.

    Maybe its the way I am doing my searches, but I seem to recall last year about this time doing some similar Research on New items and Was getting Manufacturers, Forums about, Tech info Sites about, Reviews, etc. Not anymore though, now I get Buy it here, or we have lower prices, or Best price on the Net, etc. I have just about given up using Google for any kind of serious research searching. I shall give this Personalized Search engine a Try, and maybe I could stop getting tons of sites trying to Sell me some product that I am only interested in trying to figure out if it will work for me.

    Signed, One Pissed Off Searcher.
    • This probably has more to do with the terms you're giving Google than Google itself. The more generic of a term you give Google, the less it has to work with. If you give Google a really generic term, you're going to get broad results.

      For example, say I'm looking for information on a printer. If I put in something like Printer I get a bunch of generic sites on printers. Putting in a specific printer, such as HP PSC 1350, helps, but I get a bunch of people trying to sell me that printer. Since I'm loo

  • by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:01PM (#8707479) Homepage Journal
    Search engines currently use one highly optimized relevance rank for all users. The relevance rank functions have improved tremendously, but it is increasingly difficult to make further gains with a single relevance rank function because not everyone agrees on how relevant a particular page is to a particular search.

    To get further improvements, you will need many relevance ranks. With enough different relevance ranks, search results effectively will be customized to each person's definition of what is relevant. At that point, you have personalized search.
  • by wondercool ( 460316 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:05PM (#8707508) Homepage
    Mmm, I am a bit surprised that everbody is so enthusiastic about Google and all what the company does.

    1) The de facto monopoly in the search market makes us all very vulnerable. Just like /. moderatio points, internet user will often overlook interesting links or think that if Google can't find it, it does not exist.

    2) Google already knows a lot about what each IP address is interested in. With personalized items, it is going to be even more knowledgeable.
    Could mean less diversity in the eco-internet advertising and information world.

    Personally, I like to be surprised by some search results I did not anticipate (where are the they days of internet *surfing*?)

    Tip from me, disable cookies on domain For a bit of assureance...

    • by KeeperS ( 728100 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:50PM (#8707979)
      Google might be the big dog in the search market, but I'm not especially worried. Unlike certain other monopolies, if you have a problem with Google, there's absolutely no cost to switching. I hear there's plenty of other search engines [] out there. Privacy is an issue, but if you're not going to trust Google, I'm not sure why you would trust another search engine.

      As for finding results you didn't anticipate, are you saying that you'd rather have less accurate results?

  • recently announced UI redesign

    Actually, hadden't noticed it. The "changes" are so insignificant, I'm not sure how it can be called a "redesign".

  • I went in a tested it.
    personalization "Robotics"
    searched for home built
    1 robotics hit
    many others
    home-built chastity belts
    home-built scram jet (I question that one)
    home-built 2 meter amtateur radio (good link that one)

    didn't seem very personalized to me
  • I like Google precisely because it doesn't have creeping featuritis like Yahoo or portal sites. I go to, I type something into the box there, bam, I find what I'm looking for. I don't need a personalized search! I don't need to search for images within Google news; I don't need five billion options on the main page telling me I can "personalize" Google. I just want simplicity.
  • Is this filtered? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonhuang ( 598538 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:19PM (#8707665) Homepage
    Search for 'Naked', search for 'sex' -- even with preferences set to minimum, porn doesn't turn up. That's actually an excellent feature.. but a little surprising. Actually, the first 10 results have a very "yahoo" hand reviewed look to them.
  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:19PM (#8707666)
    This is going to be a real killer app for me, as soon as they add more languages besides english.

    Lot of my searches are in my own language, that is Finnish. Naturally, they cannot really guess what pages are related to computers or astronomy (my interests) when they are not in english.

    For example, when I search for "Austin" I get (depending on the slider) either the city page for Austin, TX or the local astronomy society. For my hometown of Tampere, Finland I get either the town page or Tampere University of Technology (because it has pages in english). My local club is not listed.

    Hope that they will add more languages soon.
  • Kaltix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nalez ( 556446 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:35PM (#8707829) Homepage
    (Note that it probably uses technology acquired when they bought Kaltix last year)

    The google image name is google_kaltix_results.gif [] so thats a good hint that it is from the Kaltix technology
  • by Psychic Burrito ( 611532 ) on Monday March 29, 2004 @05:58PM (#8708036)
    I'm reposting this here because it's important:

    Dmoz is dead. I myself was rejected about 5 times in the last 4 years. But the really important point is
    - quality went down, way down
    - the way dmoz works is against changing stuff quickly
    - there is no peer review. Once you're an editor, you can pretty much do what you like. There is a master-subordinate system at work though so your category's parent's editor can control you, but this is wrong on so many levels:
    a) those people are often lazy
    b) those people can't look after everything
    c) the system makes people eager to climb the ladder as fast as possible instead of working on things
    d) leads to building of factions that work for each other.

    In short, the basic rules of dmoz automatically lead to the mess we've got now.

    But the biggest problem is: there is nothing better at hand, so Google and dozens of other website use its still the best thing around yet really bad.

    I'd suggest to build something new along these lines:
    - wiki-style editing to ensure fast updates
    - slashdot-style modding to ensure good + fair quality
    - meta-discussion forums to argue wheter any entry/mod/move/category-creation is correct with polls to decide otherwise
    - Various anti-spammer/anti-troll methods, like relying on metamod-karma to ensure a safe and fair operation
    - A final editorial team that gets out of the way in 99,99% of all cases, but tries hard to keep stop spammer from taking over the platform by constantly reworking the platform (like Slashdot, too).

    Sounds interesting? Any work in this direction already on track? Somebody interested in starting it?

    (old message here [], posted earlier today 3 hours after topic went live and nobody commented on it - but we all know that on slashdot 3-hours-old topics old are old news :-/)
  • Google's Logo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <> on Monday March 29, 2004 @07:20PM (#8708899) Homepage Journal
    And yet the logo is still a *GIF*. Ignoring the very nice possibility of making the shadows alpha transparent and doing away with the solid white background color (which looks out of place when I am using a brightness-inversion bookmarklet), there is still the much lamented patented nature of GIFs, as well as a size penalty. What are they thinking?

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.