Pew: Personalized search turning out to be unpopular

Summary:Ideally, personalized search would lead to more precise and relevant results overtime, but many Internet users are not willing to sacrifice their privacy for this amenity.

The idea behind personalized search, in which search engines keep track of your personal data with the idea of serving you better in the future (among other reasons), seems to make sense in theory. Ideally, users will get more precise and relevant results overtime, saving everyone time and possibly money.

However, there are some obvious flaws to this theory -- chief among them would be privacy concerns.

According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately 73 percent of respondents were upset that a search engine would track of their searches and saw that as an invasion of privacy.

Even more specifically, 68 percent of all Internet users are said to be primarily upset by having their online behavior tracked and analyzed.

However, privacy isn't the only issue here. At least 65 percent of search engine users don't like the idea of personalized search just because they feel it might limit their results, causing them to miss something important in the future.

As for those who are fans of personalized search, 29 percent of search engine users like the concept in the hopes of receiving more relevant results.

Beyond that, 28 percent of Internet users also look forward to personalized advertising on the side so at least they're forced to look at ads that are actually pertinent to them.

As for which search engines still ring the most popular with Internet users, it's not much of a surprise that Google came in first with 83 percent of the vote. Yahoo came in second with 6 percent of search users.

For reference, Pew's results are based on a a survey conducted in English and Spanish between January 20 and February 19, 2012 among 2,253 adults age 18 and over.


Topics: Enterprise Software


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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