April 9th, 2010

When Google Narrows Your Search

Google recently announced Personalized Search. Whenever you search using Google, it will pay attention to the websites you click, allowing Google to place those sites higher on your result list the next time you do the search.

For day-to-day Googlers, this new feature can really speed up your search. But if you use Google for academic research, it can really throw a wrench in the works.


Because you’ll have to search harder and longer to find what’s new to you. Your results will be weighted toward what you’ve already seen. That’s perfect for many non-academic searches, but can be very frustrating when you’re trying to do a comprehensive search.

In fact, if you think that seeing the same things over and over is a sign that you’ve found all there is, think again. That may not be true at all when using Google.

Of course, Google shouldn’t be your main academic research tool anyway. This is just one more reason why you shouldn’t buy socks and research a dissertation all with with the same tool.

– Erin

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