Google Tackles Search Memory in Beta Service

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-04-20 Print this article Print

The search company launches My Search History, a test service for storing users' search histories and integrating personalized results into general Web search.

Google wants to be more than a way of searching for Web pages, the search company says: It wants to become an extension of a users online memory. To achieve that goal, Google on Wednesday launched a personalized Web search service that stores users search histories, builds individualized search data into Web results and suggests related searches. Called My Search History, the service, currently being beta tested, is available through Google Labs, the companys site for service prototypes. With the search-history release, Google Inc. joins competitors such as Ask Jeeves Inc., Inc.s and Yahoo Inc. in attempting to make search more personal.
Search history is stored once a Google user creates and logs into a Google account, and it can be retrieved from any computer. Within the My Search History interface, users can then query past searches, results and the full text of the Web pages that they have visited, said Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products at Mountain View, Calif.-based Google.
"This should be default functionality on any search engine," Mayer said. "It lets users extend their searches and helps them recall interesting things that they found out on the Web." Mayer said that she expects My Search History to eventually become an integral part of Google and to draw interest from a broad set of users. Within the My Search History interface, users can manage their past searches by deleting queries and individual results. They also can temporarily stop the collection of search history. Read details here about Googles new Google Video service, which is accepting uploads. But Googles personalized search approach extends beyond setting up a separate site. It also provides integrated search history within the results from its main search site. Users of the service will receive a selection of search-history results atop general Web search results. Also appearing within Web results is individualized data about the last time a user visited a particular link and the number of visits made to that link. For users, that data can help them decide on the usefulness of a Web searchs results based on their past behavior, Mayer said. Click here to read about Googles new map service incorporating satellite photos. Googles My Search History service also makes suggestions, displaying links to related searches within the history display. To offer the related searches, Google is using clustering techniques similar to those used to group related news stories in the Google News service, Mayer said. Googles My Search History service also provides a calendar view of search history, which lets users navigate to a specific days history and view the amount of search activity each day. It supports most Web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Netscape, Safari, and Mozillas Firefox and namesake browsers. It also requires that JavaScript be enabled. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
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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