Google has a mission to organise the world’s information. Recent developments from Google though mean that perhaps a change in how that is done is afoot. Could it be that, through Google personalisation, the search giant intends to start with the consumer and work up from there in future? Could it be that humans are rich sources of information in of themselves and computers can harness this? Probably not the most out-there theory you’ve heard today, right?

How does Google Know?

Of course, Google wouldn’t be as powerful as it is without its vast knowledge owing to indexing information from web pages, user feedback, webmaster dialogue and machine learning to name a few. That’s how Google can know what a human may want to do, and more and more, the prompting of certain actions is taking place.

Google personalisation though, can bring Google even closer to consumers. Much in the same way that Wikipedia has brought accurate and non-biased information closer to people, Google can help you find information that is close to you; be it your new favourite cat .gif or your favourite restaurant’s location.

How is Google Personalisation taking root?

The steps Google is taking to organise your information is two-fold (and maybe three-fold by the time you’ve read this article). These are:

1. Google Personalised Results

“Google personalised results” covers a broad church, from website showing higher in the Google organic search results because you’ve visited them previously (a lot), to the new newsfeed on Google mobile homepage and app.

Specifically what I’m driving at though is the “personal” tab in Google search which you may have noticed (if you are anything like me!).

Essentially, this will surface content from other apps you may have installed, your Google calendar events (as shown below), Gmail messages etc.

More info on that development here.

2. Feeding the Bot

Another way Google Personalisation is happening is through people feeding the bot by saving images, places, websites etc to their Google accounts. Google is helping to bridge the gap between information that exists on Google and the user, i.e.: you. Now, Google has long been doing this, but have a new central location for everything.

No longer do you have to go to Google Maps to see your starred places. Everything will exist under a “Saved” tab as shown in the screenshot below with a help wizard overlay.

Google Personalisation

It seems there will be many ways to access this “Saved” tab and it will likely be prominent in all the places mentioned before, maps, Youtube, Gmail etc. For instance, I was minding my own business and saw it on image search, as shown below. (Don’t judge me on my search terms alone!)

You can see, it the “View Saved” button is prominent in the bottom right of each two screenshots, from the Google App and Google Mobile image search results, respectively.

Google Personalisation - mobile app

Google Personalisation - Mobile search results

Feeding the bot is not a new phenomenon though, by any stretch. Google has long been reaching out to us to gather information, most noticeably and annoyingly perhaps, through Google Maps push notifications. See an example below.

Google Maps personalisationSummary

Google has undoubtedly become more knowledgeable and sophisticated in the more recent years since its first steps in 1998, owing to people using Google search. Indeed, leaders at the company recognise that Artificial Intelligence is the future of Google.

Further back, in October 2000, Google co-founder Larry Page said this:

“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the Web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We’re nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.”

Sounds like Google personalisation through feeding the bot and personalised Google results, surfacing content from other installed apps is a way for Google to realise this “ultimate version” of Google. In the meantime, I wait for the search giant to serve me up luke skywalker milk in the way I’d intended 🙂

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