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How do I turn off personalized search results in Google?

Posted on 2016-07-19
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Last Modified: 2016-08-07
I just found out that since 2009 I think it is, all search results on Google are personalized by default. I want to disable this as I need to get search results as unbiased as possible.
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Question by:hermesalpha
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9 Comments
 
LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:Rgonzo1971
Rgonzo1971 earned 120 total points
ID: 41720221
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LVL 84

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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 760 total points
ID: 41720236
I think you will find that in spite of the recommendations on that page, it is not really possible to get 'unbiased' search results.  Google is an advertising company and they serve up results that suit their advertising needs.  And... they keep a profile on you and your browser on their servers to help them do that.  You can change your preferences and delete all the cookies in the world and it will not affect the profile they have on you.
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LVL 29

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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 1120 total points
ID: 41721894
Dave's comment above is correct.  I've disallowed cookies from Google, set "do not track" in the browser, installed aggressive Google site blocking in Adblock Edge, and blocked most unnecessary Google sites in hosts.  But all of it makes little difference because Google tracks users not only by cookie, but also by IP address.
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Author Comment

by:hermesalpha
ID: 41722063
I'm about to buy new computers, can I somehow start out right to avoid being completely tracked by Google?  I mean, if I use one of my computers (I'm going to buy several) for only Google searches and nothing personal (such as logging in to accounts), wouldn't I stay away from Google's tracking then?

If so, what actions would reveal my identity to Google? In other words, what would I be able to do without Google tracking those actions by me?
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LVL 29

Accepted Solution

by:
Dr. Klahn earned 1120 total points
ID: 41722082
imo, it's pretty much impossible to avoid being tracked by Google unless you use an anonymizing browser such as Tor, an anonymizing proxy, or a route all your network traffic through a commercial VPN.

Google tracks and records all searches by IP address.  If you use gmail, they already know who you are and can link your personal info to your IP address.  But even if you don't use gmail, so long as your router remains at the same IP address (most do for weeks and months at a time) Google can build up quite a lot of information about you just from the content of search requests.

If a Google tracking cookie is on your browser, Google can track you across non-Google sites by cross-domain scripting.  Many sites use Google services in their web pages without notifying you, e.g. googletagmanager.com.
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LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 760 total points
ID: 41722086
The only way to avoid being tracked by Google (and Amazon and Facebook and every internet ad agency on the planet) is to turn your computer off.  Practically every web site you visit has tracking code from one or more of those companies.  That includes Experts Exchange.  There are several scripts on this page that are reporting back to Google.
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Author Comment

by:hermesalpha
ID: 41723338
I change location where I live quite often (stay only a few months on each location), so maybe Tor would work.

What about using own satellite internet (although still too expensive), would that change anything?
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41723615
No.  You're still assuming that you can hide from Google.  You can't.  You also can't hide from Amazon and Facebook.  They know how to track you.
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Author Closing Comment

by:hermesalpha
ID: 41746230
The only option seems to always use something like Tor and change location often. Or perhaps dynamic IP.
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