Google effectively ends objective searches

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 30 00:33:14 UTC 2011

Have you tried adding the parameter "&pws=0" to the search URL?


On Sun, May 29, 2011 at 8:05 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at> wrote:
> I've just found out (how far behind am I?) that Google Search no longer
> offers "See the results of this search without customization based on your
> search history".
> I've entered the following comment in a Google Forum
> thread<>
> :
> =====
> I am a researcher and I need reproducible results. Used to be, I could click
> to see "Results without personalization based on your web history". I could
> post something based on what I found, and my colleagues could do the same
> search and get the same results (plus whatever changes might have occurred
> between my search and theirs).
> Now you have made it, in practice, impossible to get an objective,
> decustomized search<>
> :
> -----
> > Google sometimes customizes your search results based on your past search
> > activity on Google. This customization includes searches you've done and
> > results you've clicked. Since personalized search treats signed-in and
> > signed-out users differently, the instructions for turning off search
> > history personalization are a little different in each case.
> >
> > Signed in searches
> > To disable history-based search customizations while signed in, you'll need
> > to remove Web History from your Google Account. You can also choose to
> > remove individual items. Note that removing this service deletes all your
> > old searches from Web History.
> >
> > Signed out searches
> > If you aren't signed in to a Google Account, your search experience will be
> > customized based on past search information linked to a cookie on your
> > browser. To disable these types of customizations, follow these steps:
> >    1. In the top right corner of the search results page, click the gear
> > icon gear icon, then select Web History.
> >    2. On the resulting page, click Disable customizations based on search
> > activity.(Because this preference is stored in a cookie, it'll affect anyone
> > else who uses the same browser and computer as you).
> >
> > Or, if you'd rather just delete the current cookie storing searches from
> > your browser and start fresh, clear your browser's cookies.
> >
> > Note: If you've disabled search customizations, you'll need to disable it
> > again after clearing your browser cookies; clearing your Google cookie turns
> > on history-based customizations.
> >
> -----
> And I'd have to do this EVERY TIME I wanted an objective search. Meanwhile
> I'd be unable to have a custom search, which is also useful. (Except, of
> course, for a search miscustomized to only what I've seen since the last
> time I ran through all that.)
> See also this help forum
> post<>from
> another user, who has evidently seen the same Pariser post on "filter
> bubbles<>"
> that a friend just sent to me.
> =====

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