Google has been making significant changes to how it handles search, but it’s not receiving much support for the outcome.

A recent survey by market research tool provider Ask Your Target Market found that only 15.5 of U.S. Internet users liked the idea of personalized search results. (See chart, below.) An additional 39.1 percent gave qualified approval, saying they would like personalize results but were concerned about the privacy implications.

But the most popular answer was no, with 45.4 percent of respondents, because they would prefer if everyone got the same search results for the same search terms.

Google will introduce its changes on March 1, after which search results will be personalized by including content from the user’s Google+ social network, such as photos, comments and links from their friends’ profiles.

AYTM’s survey was of a small group of U.S. Internet users, but it definitely should give Google some things to think about.

The study also asked respondents if they have a Google+ account, and 19.5 percent answered that they’d never even heard of it. About a fifth (20.3 percent) said they had an account but rarely used it, with nearly the same number (19.3 percent) saying they did use it. That leaves 40.9 percent who have heard of Google+ but who do not have an account.

Related links:

AYTM Google Search study –

eMarketer – Consumers Concerned About Personalized Search Results

Search Engine Land – Survey: People Largely Negative About Google’s Personalized Search Results (hat tip)

Marketing Pilgrim – Does Google Personalized Search Have You Concerned?


Booth photo by Flickr user jonlclark, used under Creative Commons license


  1. paid FUD propaganda article. Microsoft Bing search engine has a firehose deal with Twitter and Facebook also doing personalized search with much huge data coming from the two doesn’t concern you? While Google doing personalized search with the much younger Google+ with little data about you concerns you?

    I think you guys start doing real journalism by being objective. Stop being a PR agency payola

    • You’re welcome to your opinion, which is why we posted it. In fact, if you would like to write an article expressing your opinion (backed up with research), please get in touch.

      You are wrong, however, in thinking anything about this article was paid for. The small study was brought to our attention by Search Engine Land and eMarketer. Nobody here ever even saw a press release, much less spoke to any pr person.

      We would be interested in running similar research on Bing, Twitter, or anyone else. As for Facebook, nobody holds them up as a paragon of privacy protection.

      – Chris
      editorial director, DMW Media