My favorite definition of Personalized Search is that it’s the shifting of who determines search results relevancy from the search engine to the searcher. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea, until you begin to analyze what that really means to the searcher.
In order for the searcher to determine relevancy of search results for a search s/he performs, it means that the searcher must divulge a significant amount of personal information about what’s important (relevant) to him/her to whoever owns the search engine.
And then there’s the whole issue of what’s important to the searcher and when it’s important. In order for a search engine to return relevant search results, it not only must ask and receive a significant amount of the searcher’s personal information, it must also track the searches being made and use that insight to tweak that searcher’s personal search algorithm.
Example: Personalized Search Gone Wrong
If a searcher performs a large amount of searches on car specifications in a short amount of time, does that mean that the searcher has become a car aficionado, or does it mean that the searcher needs to purchase a car in the near term? Can a search engine make that determination?
Here’s where Google stands on Personalized Search by Barry Schwartz on SearchEngineLand: Google admits it’s using very limited personalization in search results
I am obviously not a big fan of “Personalized” Search. I’m a much bigger advocate of Categorized Search. I’ve provided a link to the one of the latest iterations of personalized search, so you can decide for yourselves how successful this search innovation will be among Web searchers.
Examples of Personalized Search include:
Search Engine Trends – Return to Search Engines Trends Page