how does google know?

by Hugh

A long while back I posted (on th old blog, dose) about how, by default, when you are logged into a google account (say gmail), google tracks your searches (ostensibly to serve you “better” search results) … and allows you to review your “search history.” You can un-default that, but it’s pretty creepy whatever way you look at it.

So I undefaulted that option… but I noticed a funny thing the other day. I set up my rugby club’s website recently, and wanted to check google rankings. Here’s how we’re doing, I thought, on my browser for search terms “Montreal Rugby”:
google-firefox.jpg

Sweet. #1 on the web, not bad. As I set up the site, and I’ve been updating it pretty often, I’ve been visiting the site frequently. I told a friend to check out google, and see how well we were doing. We were #10 on “his” google. So I checked on safari, a browser I rarely use, and guess what? #2, not #1:
google-safari.jpg

So, clearly google is:
a) tracking what I do with my browser
and
b) deciding what search results I will “prefer”

Both of which really pisses me off. So, google, if you are listening (which you certainly are), stop following me around. You are really starting to creep me out.