Google Getting Personal with Search

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-03-29 Print this article Print

Two new services from the search giant's labs let users customize search results and regularly track searches based on their interests.

Google Inc. wants to make search more personal. The search giant on Monday unveiled two projects from its labs that let users receive customized search results and e-mail alerts. Google Personalized Web Search lets users set preferences that are used to tailor search-engine results to a users specific interests, Google announced. With Google Web Alerts, users can track specific keywords and receive daily or weekly e-mails with links to search results and Google News stories based on those keywords.
Both of the services are available from the Google Labs site; Google did not provide details on when they would be launched as full products.
"Today, Google takes the first step in providing personal search results based on users preferences," Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of products, said in a statement. "We can deliver search results tailored to your interests or promptly e-mail you new information on any topic." Along with the new personalization features, Google also revamped its main search sites user interface. The redesign adds links across the top of the search query box to other Google search services, including Googles Froogle shopping search site. Froogle also got a new look, with a home page and search results page that more closely match Googles overall look and feel, the company said. The companys personalization push and new look follow its beta launch earlier this month of Google Local for geographic-specific search. Google is facing more intense competition in the search space. Last week, Microsoft Corp.s MSN Search offered more details on its plans to move more aggressively into Web search. MSN later this year expects to launch its own algorithmic search engine to compete with Google. It will join Yahoo Inc., which earlier this year dropped Google search results for its own search-engine technology. Googles Personalized Web Search service also lets users control the degree of customization of search results through a "slider." By moving the slider, the results change dynamically, Google said. For example, two searchers looking up "bass" could receive different results based on their musical or outdoors interests. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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