How to Turn Off Google’s Annoying New Personal Search Results
Yesterday Google announced they were integrating Google+ into your search results, and this morning, you may have noticed the change. The problem: It's cluttered, not useful for the bulk of searches you do every day, and enabled by default for all results. Even if you choose to hide personal results, they're turned back on by default with each fresh search. It's annoying, user unfriendly, and you should turn it off. Here's how.
First of all, the "search plus your world" feature is still rolling out, so you might not see this yourself yet. It's definitely starting to do so in mass, however. When you're signed into Google and if you use Google+ or Picasa sharing, you'll see personal results at the top of the web search results page, on the right side, and in the search listings, marked with a blue person icon.
You can toggle the personal results off by clicking the globe icon on the top right of the page, but this can be a pain to keep doing over and over again with each search.
Thankfully, it's easy to disable* the personal results:
- Click on the settings cog at the top right of the Google page, then click Search settings.
- Under "Personal results" select "Do not use personal results."
* Ed note: Selecting "Do not user personal results" actually doesn't disable personal search results—you can still toggle to show personal results any time. It just makes "hide personal results" the default. The decision to bury this toggle in the settings rather than making your decision sticky, if anything, indicates how aggressively Google is pushing Google+ into their various products, and I, for one, don't like it. It's hostile to the user for the benefit of G+. I'm not under the illusion that Google is always focused on you—they're a massively profitable corporation in the business of making money—but the honor of being your default search engine isn't fixed in stone, and moves like this can easily push users in other directions. I don't think it's a useless feature, but for the majority of my searches, it is, and forcing it as a default is a misstep.