How To Turn Off Google’s Personal Search Results

Justin Pot 21-01-2012

google personal searchHas your entire life become a frustrating chore since last week, when Google added “Personal Search“? Have you been taking your rage out on innocent squirrels and kittens, most of whom had nothing to do with Google’s decision to integrate a social network most people aren’t using with the search engine everyone is? Stop kicking cuddly creatures. There’s a simple way to stem the tide of nonsense pouring into your search results and we’re happy to share it with you.


Have you ever looked through your Facebook feed and thought to yourself “It would be really awesome if all of this useless crap came up when I was searching for something?” Me neither! Google seems to think differently though, so last week they started flooding everyone’s search results with a bunch of nonsense. Happily they’re not complete idiots – they did provide a way to turn this crap off. Let’s get right to that.

The Fix

Are you ready to restore sanity to your search results? Pull up a Google search. See the personalized results at top, then swear (loudly if you’re at home or quietly if you’re at work). When you’re done swearing, click the gear in the top-right corner. Click “Search Settings“, and you’ll find this amazing option:

google personal search

Click the “Do not use personal results” button with the enthusiasm of a kid stealing candy. Make sure you click “Save” before leaving this page, or the frustration during your next search will be immense.

That’s it! Google is back to not sucking, and you can go back to being a well-adjusted person (if you were well-adjusted before, of course).


Some Background

What was Google thinking? Well, here’s the story so far. Google fears Facebook, because Facebook is the only company on earth with comparable amounts of your personal information to exploit. Which brings us to Google Plus, the latest of Google’s many freaking attempts to create a repository of your personal preferences, friendships and interactions social network.

Plus is different than previous attempts, though, in that Google is pushing it, hard. Sure, Buzz was integrated with Gmail, but Plus goes way beyond that – we’re talking about TV ads, integration with Android, and even a big freaking arrow on the Google homepage:

turn off personal search google

And then, last week, Google decided they really wanted to piss off their user base. Now Google Plus posts are now integrated with Google search itself. That’s right – the totality of human knowledge, filtered through your friends and family.


No offense to the people I know; most of you guys are perfectly acceptable human beings. I just don’t want your input on the hundreds of searches I run each day. It clutters my search for information, and puts me inside a social bubble instead of helping me engage with the wider world.


Did you turn this off? Did it somewhat improve the quality of your life? Let us know in the comments below. Also feel free to rant about this being a bad decision on Google’s part, because that’s totally what I just did.

google personal search

Did you not turn this off? Then, please add us on Google Plus [no longer available] to clutter your search results with our articles get awesome updates from us!


Related topics: Google, Google Search, Online Privacy, Web Search.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Fik_of_borg
    January 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    In the past, when I needed information I often searched in the nearest library and rarely asked all my party friends (or only asked specific friends).
    This has not changed in the digital age with digital libraries and digital friends.

  2. Anonymous
    January 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Good thing is that Google's Search Plus Your World (yep, that's the name of the feature! a mouthful if you ask me) will only show if you are logged into your Google account. If Google continues to force internet users to eat Google+, then I will start thinking of using DuckDuckGo as my search engine instead. 

  3. Slywlf
    January 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I turned it off - it was neither helping me nor particularly intrusive, but I prefer to make my own decisions on what is or isn't relevant when I search. I just wish it was this easy - or even possible - to turn off similar 'memory' in Netflix and Amazon. Just because I was looking at juicers and exercise equipment one day doesn't mean I want to be bombarded with options every time I open the site or my email, and one edgy flick I ordered out of curiosity doesn't mean I am enamored of gay films - knock it off already with the suggestions! :-(

    • agedtechie
      March 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Amen!  Amazon makes me crazy with their 'suggestions'

  4. Sheila Warner
    January 22, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Finally! Someone who thinks that social networking and web search are two different things. It's better to "choose" an option than having it "thrust" upon us like the Big G sometimes does.

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Agreed. This should be opt-in, not opt-out. 

  5. Andrew Straughton
    January 22, 2012 at 1:55 am

    With the option to turn it on and off I don't really see what your problem is in this rather one-sided rant!

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      It would hardly be a rant if it was two sided, now would it? 

  6. Nunya Bidniss
    January 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    If you have Firefox just click the "Hide Personal Results" button up at the top after you do a search. The option will stick and remember that setting the next time you do a search.

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 12:31 am

      That didn't work for me, but I switch browsers and computers on a regular basis. It's nice turning this off universally. 

  7. Makeuseof
    January 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I never saw a search with "personal results", but then again I have never used Google+ or Facebook.

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 12:31 am

      You're safe, then. For now...

  8. Anonymous
    January 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you!
    My mood improved instantaneously!

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 12:30 am

      Happy to help!

  9. Race5
    January 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm

     It clutters my search for information, and puts me inside a social bubble instead of helping me engage with the wider world."

    +100 to that.

    Aren´t you getting pissed of with social networks? I´m starting to

    • jhpot
      January 22, 2012 at 12:30 am

      I'm sick of social networks invading other aspects of the web. They have their place, but everywhere isn't it.