3 Ways to Turn Off Google Personalization Without Logging Out

Hallelujah, all my church’s keywords have moved to the top of Google! Oh wait, those were Google personalized results. Now I have to log out of Google, try that query again and see if the results change. Heavy sigh.Here are three ways to quickly turn off Google personalization so that you can see the default search engine results pages.

  1. Add &pws=0 (short for personal websearch equals nothing) to the end of the Google URL that reflects your search query, such as in this search for faithfulweb. You’ll need to do this each time you submit a search; this doesn’t persist across searches or sessions. (And while you’re adding parameters, you might try &num=100 to see 100 results on a page instead of the default 10.)
  2. Get the plug in from Joost de Valk, an SEO consultant and webdesigner living in The Netherlands.
  3. Use a two-browser approach where you remain logged in with your preferred browser and then keep a separate window open to perform searches in your less-preferred browser. For example, I usually browse in Firefox, but will suffer through Internet Explorer if I need to see de-personalized results from time to time.

Of course, there are also the run-away options: log out; avoid logging into Google in the first place; or turn off history (choices in upper right corner of Google).

The first one, &pws=0, got a lot of publicity after Google’s Matt Cutts discussed it at SMX Seattle, but Ionut Alex Chitu identified it back in April on Google Operating System.

On a related and not surprising note, Google’s news has a better clickthru rate when personalization is turned on.

I’d like to hear how you handle Google personalization.


2 thoughts on “3 Ways to Turn Off Google Personalization Without Logging Out

  1. A diva of course has her very own personal home page (which is as over the top as she needs it to be). So, with that in mind, I include the following little snippet of code on my home page:

    <form method="get" action="http://www.google.com/search"&gt;
    <input class="submitbox" type="text" name="q" size="31" maxlength="255" value="" />
    <input type="hidden" name="pws" value="0" />
    <input type="hidden" name="num" value="100" />
    <input type="submit" value="Depersonalized Search" />

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