Google Inc. on Thursday added a results screener and other new features to its personalized Internet search service, which draws upon a users Internet search history to better focus results.
The upgrades are typical of ceaseless tit-for-tat features one-upmanship among Google, Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.s MSN and other search leaders.
The competition is particularly fierce when it comes to personalizing search results, which means someone can search the Internet for "Apple," and the search engine will know, based on previous encounters, to fetch sites relating to the computer, not the fruit.
On Thursday, Google Personal Search graduated from a long testing phase to "prime time"—as in, offered to anyone signing up for a Google account or to existing Google account holders.
As is usually the case, the step involves some new bells and whistles.
In this case, its several, including a "remove site" aspect that lets someone bar any Internet locale they want from future results.
For search engines, personalized search is providing another way to attract users to their search sites and retain them in the face of heightened competition.
Its become a staple of giants like Yahoo and start-ups like Rollyo, created by blogger-entrepreneur Dave Pell.
But some versions of personalized search raise some privacy concerns because such services must keep a record of someones search history in order to best operate.
However, users of Google, Yahoo and others can opt out of the service, or erase their history any time.