How To Disable Google’s Personalization Of Search Results

google personalized   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search ResultsIt’s never been a secret that Google uses your personal information (web history and browser data) by default to personalize your search results. Basically what it means is that what you see for some Google searches is (slightly) different from what other people see for the same searches.

You may like the feature (but want to switch it off for some searches) or you may want to disable it completely – it’s up to you and your purposes.

This post will look at various ways to do that.

1. Disable Google Personalization: Official Guide (Browser Independent)

Google does have an official way to disable the feature (I am listing it first because it’s official, NOT because it’s the easiest way to do it).

To disable Google personalization, you will need to do the following:

  • Sign out of Google when searching (OR: Disable / Pause and remove your Google web history);
  • Once signed out, in the top right corner of the search results page, click Web History and there Disable customization (OR: Clear your browser’s cookies).

google personalized 02   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search Results

2. Disable Google Personalization: One-Time (Browser Independent)

Again, you may like the feature and the fact that Google tries to show you what you really want (your favorite sites or sites you are more likely to like on top), but in some cases you will want to see “real” results (for example, to check how your own website is doing).

In this case, what you need to do is manually modify the search query URL path: just add this parameter:

pws=0

The “˜pws=0″² parameter removes the search personalization:

google personalized 01   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search Results

If you don’t want to add the parameter manually, use this browser bookmarklet (courtesy of Google System Blog):

Turn off Google personalization

Just drag it to your Bookmarks toolbar and click after you search Google. The parameter will be added and the search results reloaded for you to see de-personalized results.

3. Disable Google Personalization: FireFox

If you don’t want to mess around with Google settings (if you don’t want to disable and remove your search history, for example) but at the same time you do not appreciate Google’s personalization of your search results, use this FireFox addon called Google Global.

Google Global will let you de-personalize all your Google searches but apart from that coolness it will also let you easily see search results for other countries (a great plugin to have!)

google personalized 03   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search Results

4. Disable Google Personalization: Google Chrome

I am not aware of a similar extension that would disable Google search personalization in Google Chrome but I was able to set that manually. Use this post on removing personalized search in Chrome as a great step by step tutorial:

  1. Go to Options and click “Manage” next to your “Default search engine“;
  2. Click “˜Add‘ to create a new search engine and fill in the details:
  • Name: The name for your new (default) search engine
  • Keyword: Allows you to access it direct from the address bar (ala Smart Keywords in FireFox);
  • URL: Add the URL of a search result page here, and use the placeholder %s to show where the query should be.

Important! Include the pws=0 parameter to create a de-personalized search query:

google personalized 04   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search Results

Finally, set the new search engine as default:

google personalized 05   How To Disable Googles Personalization Of Search Results

Do you ever turn off Google’s personalized results?  Do you know of another method that we haven’t covered here? Please share your opinions in the comments section below.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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22 Comments -

0 votes

Bill Bell

Thank you very much for this, Ms Smarty! I’ve often been suspicious of the results I’ve been given, have never given the time to researching how to subvert this mechanism.

0 votes

TLW

I thank you as well Ann. Obviously, deleting LSO’s isn’t enough. If it were, my businesses ranking results wouldn’t have changed after deleting my Web History. It didn’t change much. Just enough to notice. Whew. Still on page one :)

0 votes

Ann Smarty

What I actually do to make sure the results are clean of ANY personalization is creating a new FireFox profile, disabling personalization there, cleaning cookies each time before I close it and also having Google Global installed there.

0 votes

Nick

I don’t think that any one want to disable the Google personalization it was so simply so why one can do that thing..it is my opinion thanks for sharing..

0 votes

Dave Drager

Great article – I do SEO management for a number of organizations and it is always hard to tell what are the ‘real’ results another user might see. With increased customization of search results – while great for the end user – makes people trying to manage search engine results pull their hair out! :)

0 votes

Gcarrigan

Interestingly, when I tried to access this article while using Chrome the system stalled and I couldn’t get the page to load. When I switched to Safari, it came up immediately. Is Google becoming “Big Brother?”

0 votes

Ann Smarty

Ever doubted that? LOL

0 votes

Ragnar Moller

Passing throug a proxy in another country at work, I’ve long been aware that google forced the user into finding (a) commercial results and (b) masking resultes from other countries.

If your’e shopping this certainly stops you from finding the best deals (which is exactly what google is selling) and if you’re troubleshooting, you’re limited to local information (which is highly annoying).

I used to switch to Alta Vista to get more neutral result, but I didn’t do any comparisons.

0 votes

Ragnar Moller

Passing throug a proxy in another country at work, I’ve long been aware that google forced the user into finding (a) commercial results and (b) masking resultes from other countries.

If your’e shopping this certainly stops you from finding the best deals (which is exactly what google is selling) and if you’re troubleshooting, you’re limited to local information (which is highly annoying).

I used to switch to Alta Vista to get more neutral result, but I didn’t do any comparisons.

0 votes

Pamrose65

I installed Chrome and used it for a few days. Uninstalled because every time I clicked, even on my email, I had to remove 4 requests for my info, including stuff I don’t have (on Mac.) Back to Firefox which has to be forced to quit everytime and chokes my machine w/ every new addon.Don’t wanna go to Safari but seem to have no choice….?

0 votes

Ann Smarty

It really is the matter of what features you are looking for. I am still on FireFox (for I guess 4 years now) and never look back. Yes, it makes my computer freeze sometimes but I still can’t leave without it.

Have you tried Opera for example?

0 votes

Ann Smarty

It really is the matter of what features you are looking for. I am still on FireFox (for I guess 4 years now) and never look back. Yes, it makes my computer freeze sometimes but I still can’t leave without it.

Have you tried Opera for example?

0 votes

Geofrs

Simple folks to get Google in English- type Google UK and make that your start page
via Tools >options >General -click use current page Voila!!

0 votes

Geofrs

Simple folks to get Google in English- type Google UK and make that your start page
via Tools >options >General -click use current page Voila!!