Google is constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve the user experience. Already, they have a number of projects in development including a new series of search trials. The latest experiment is using the personal information stored by a user in Gmail and Google Drive to refine and curate search results. The results would thus be tailored to a user’s preferences more than ever before. In addition to improving user experience, the new search trends would also help Google attract advertisers.
The sheer number of projects Google works on has led to the joke that the company is always in Beta. The latest search trials have been going on for a few months but Google is still looking for more users to volunteer to take part in them. Their personal information would be used to influence the search results and check how effective it proves to be. Any recent online purchases or reservations made by a user would be among the information used by Google.
The aim for Google this time is to deliver the most suitable search results for the users and help them save time. At present, users sometimes have to go to the fourth or fifth page to find the search result they are looking for. Hence, Google search would now encompass the entire web and your own personal information to deliver more effective results. The ultimate benefit is that users would find the best answers to their search queries quickly.
While it is evident that Google’s main aim is to improve the user experience, some people have expressed concerns over the impact on their online privacy. The main contention for them is that Google would retrieve personal information kept by people in their emails which they have in their Gmail accounts. Though the purpose would be to refine the search results, it still would be an invasion of privacy.
It does seem as though any project Google announces becomes a matter of privacy. Only recently has the company had to pay over $20 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because it was tracking users’ browsing history on the Safari browser. In the new search experience though, Google can argue the fact that the pros are stronger than the cons. The users’ personal information cannot be revealed to anyone and will only be used if the user has signed in to Google before performing the search.
According to some industry experts, Google can get a large number of people to agree compromising on their online privacy to a certain extent. In return, Google would have to show how effective the new search options are and that the personal user information is not going to be used for any other purposes. As long as Google handles the matter transparently, there is no reason why people would mind letting go off their privacy to some extent.
The experiment is still in the testing stage and it could be some time before the final results are revealed. Till then, users have to make do with the current Google search experience.
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