Report: Users Call Personalized Search A "Bad Thing" Due To Privacy, Relevancy Concerns

Brad Chacos

Google raised a lot of eyebrows when it introduced the Google+-infused Search Plus Your World personal results to its bread and butter Search results, but the most publicized criticisms have come from big name companies and government organizations . What does Joe Everyman think about personalized search results? A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked 2,000 people that very question -- and most users say that hand-tailored results are a "Bad thing."

Pew phrased the question a couple of different ways to get a better grasp on why users liked/disliked personal results: all mentioned having your online behavior tracked in order to provide tailored search results. Just around two-thirds of all respondents -- 65 percent -- said they dislike personal search results because it "may limit the information you get online and what search results you see." A whopping 73 percent of respondents feel that the behavior is an invasion of privacy.

The research group also asked about the perceived ethics of tracking online behavior to deliver targeted advertising: 68 percent of respondents say they're "NOT OKAY with targeted advertising because I don’t like having my online behavior tracked and analyzed."

Despite all that doom and gloom, things aren't all bad: 91 percent of those surveyed found exactly what they were looking for "all or most of the time" they booted up a search engine. Check out the survey for yourself if you're a statistics freak, or even better yet, drop a line in the comments below and let us know how you feel about being tracked and targeted with tailored ads and search results. Crappy or awesome?

Check out our guide on how to disable G+ SPYW results in Google searches while you're at it!

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