[Air-L] Personalization of Google results (incl. little pilot study)

Anders Koed Madsen anderskoedmadsen at gmail.com
Thu Jan 20 04:56:53 PST 2011

Dear AoIR,

I am currently doing a study on the kind of information that
Google.com makes visible in relation to the controversy about
synthetic biology. In relation to that I need to think about how I
will handle the issue of personalized seraches and I therefore have a
couple of questions and a little pilot-analysis that I was hoping you
could help me out with:

a) Can you reccomend any recent studies concerning personalization of
serach in Google or about the algorithms of the Google rankings in

b)  I have read that adding “&pws=0” after the URL will de-personalize
the search but I am not sure in which way. Do you know what it does
and do you know whether I can do anything to keep my IP address and
geographical location from influencing the results?

c) In order to study to what extent personalization actually effects
the rankings I am conducting a little pilot-experiment. If you have 2
minutes to help me with the data-gathering I would be grateful if you
would like to follow the instructions below (and perhaps forward it to
your contacts).

All the best,

Anders Koed Madsen


Dear friends and colleagues,

I am currently doing pilot study on the extent to which Google
personalizes your search results on the basis of your previous search,
your gmail-account, your IP address, your geographical location etc. I
therefore want to ask you if you can help me with a little experiment
by taking 2 minutes to do the following:

a)	Open Google.com in your browser & go into ´search settings´ and set
your preferences to 20 results pr. page (click off Google instant)
b)	Search for the exact phrase “synthetic biology” on Google.com
-	Remember the “” around the words
-	Do not use other versions of Google such as Google.dk or Google.co.uk

c)	Drag your marker across the screen and copy the results without the
ads to the left and to the right of the results. When you drag your
marker across the results it will automatically leave those out.

d)	Paste the results in a word-document together with the following information
-	When was the search initiated? (date and time)
-	In which country, region and city was the search initiated?
-	Where was the computer located? (e.g at home, library, university etc.)

e)	Mail the word-document to akm.ioa at cbs.dk

Thank you very much for your time.

All the best,
Anders Koed Madsen
PhD stipend, Copenhagen Business School


P.S Please forward this mail to your contacts (in as many countries as
possible) if you feel like it

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