Effective Web Search with Google’s “My Search History” Tool
You were looking for certain information on the web. After
several attempts using different words and phrases with your
favorite search engine, you finally have found the required
information but, as it happens, forgot to bookmark the pages.
In a few days when you needed to check out the same pages again,
to your utter dismay, you realized that you couldn’t recall how
you searched out those pages. Sounds familiar? If you are like
me, you probably face this problem quite frequently!
Finding the right page link you are seeking from the browser’s
history feature, out of hundreds of pages that you have visited
recently, is not easy either! More over, browser’s history page
remembers where you have been as you browse the web for a limited
time only. Things may be a little easier if you use Google
Desktop search or similar tools from other search engines, but
again if you don’t always use the same computer, even this might
not be of much help.
My Search History – a new Google feature
However, thanks to new “My Search History” feature from
Google, now you are able to overcome this difficulty.
The service, which is still at beta stage and released just
recently, provides complete search history of all the past
searches made through Google once you install it. The search
histories are stored on Google’s servers, this enables you to
access search histories from any computer. From your search
history page you are able to make a query on the search history
itself. On the history page at the right side you can see the
search words or phrases used for making a query, time of the query
made, pages visited related to the query and the page link.
At the left side, there is a calendar to check out the search
made by you on an earlier date.
It also shows how many searches you have done on a certain day
and how intense your search activity was on each day. A neat
feature, which will help you get rid of the problem mentioned in
the beginning of the article, will show you relevant search
results from your “My History Pages” along with the new
search results while you make a query. “This feature of
Google Web search enables you to find information you thought
you lost”, Google claims on its site.
How to install?
In order to add this feature go to the “My Search History” link
on your Google home page and search results pages, by clicking
the My Search History link on Google Labs, or by going directly
to http://www.google.com/searchhistory. If you ever registered
with any of Google’s services, i.e. Gmail, Newsgroups, Froogle,
etc. you may use same user name and password to install this
feature. If you don’t have account with Google as yet, don’t
worry unlike Gmail account you can go to the following page
https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount and create a new
account. Once you created an account, you can turn on “My Search
History”, which will add the link to your Google home page and
search results pages.
Is this feature something new?
This is actually not a new feature on the Internet. This service
of Google has striking similarity to the one already existed on
Meta Search tool http://www.a9.com. Other search engines like
http://www.askjeeves.com and little know http://www.findory.com also have some
thing similar incorporated to their systems. A9 also has a feature
called “Discover”, which along with your search results
recommends sites relevant to the query. The My Yahoo Search test
released in October also enables users to save, share and post
notes on their own search results.
There is always a reason to be concerned when your Internet
activities are tracked and kept by any company. However, Google
has taken several steps so that a user can have total control on
how he exploits this service.
First, you have to log on in order to use this feature. Your log
in status is visible all the time on the Google home page. If you
can see your account name on top right side of the page, this
means you are signed in.
If you don’t want certain searches to be tracked by Google, you
have two choices. Either you can suspend the service for a while
by clicking on the “pause” button or just log off from the service.
You can also erase search results from history page by clicking on
“Remove” link. Combination of all these mechanisms will allow
you to keep your searches private and protected. However, if you
are overly concerned about privacy, you better refrain from using
Most of Google’s features carry great values for users. The
personalization of search processes using “My Search History”
allows you to get a better search experience. It’s a significant
leap towards creating an ideal search system.
The benefits of this feature for Google are also enormous! Almost
all of Google’s revenue comes from search ads. Naturally,
Google’s ability to provide more refined search results to users
will allow vendors better targeting their market niche. They
would spend substantially more if they could show ads to users
based on their past search history. But, Google claims that at
this moment it is not planning to post any ads on your history
No doubt, this is an interface that many of us have been waiting
for quite a while. However, its impact on the future of search
engines remains to be seen!