Google Tackles Search Memory in Beta Service

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.

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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.

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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.

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