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Home / Technology / Privacy-minded DuckDuckGo finds that Google also personalizes search results for logged-out and incognito users

Privacy-minded DuckDuckGo finds that Google also personalizes search results for logged-out and incognito users



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If you conduct a Google Search while logged in to your Google Account, the results may be adjusted to match the company's results that you have learned about over the years Has. But what if you are not logged in to in your account?

A study conducted by the privacy-aware search engine DuckDuckGo yielded some surprising results. In early-year testing, it was found that even if people who did not sign in to a Google Account or if they use private browser mode, "most people saw results clearly for them," suggesting that the results are always were still personalized.

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Although this was a small study with only 87 results, the results are still interesting. DuckDuckGo wanted to run in June ̵

1; during the US turnaround – to test the impact of Google's "filter bubble". This "bubble" is the kind of activity you would expect Google to do – personalizing search results based on what they could learn about you. If you're signed in to your Google Account, it's easy to understand how the company collects information about you. However, if you are using private browser mode or have just logged out of your account and are seeing similar personalization, this is somewhat of a concern.

DuckDuckGo asked the study participants to perform identical search queries at the same time. It was found:

  1. Most participants saw clear results. These discrepancies could not be explained by changes in location, time, logging in to Google, or changes in the Google testing algorithm to a small group of users.
  2. Google contained links for some participants on the first page of the search results. This was not considered for others, even though it was logged off and in private browser mode.
  3. The results in the news and video info boxes were also very different. Although people searched at the same time, users were shown different sources even after considering the location.
  4. The private browsing mode and the logout on Google offered very little filter bubble protection. This tactic simply does not provide the anonymity that most people expect. In fact, it's simply not possible to use Google search and avoid the filter bubble.

Weapon Control, Immigration, and Vaccination searches and results seem to indicate that a Google Account is being avoided or attempted To protect your privacy in private browser mode, this has had little impact whether the search results were personalized or not. DuckDuckGo says:

We have seen that the random comparison of the private modes of the individuals was more than twice as variable as comparing the private mode of another to the normal mode.

A clear warning is issued: [19659012] We often hear of confusion that the private browsing mode allows anonymization on the Web. However, these results show that Google is cutting search results regardless of browser mode. One should not be lulled into a false sense of security that the so-called "incognito" mode anonymizes them.

The complete results and methodology of the filter bubble study can be found on the DuckDuckGo website.

Photo credits: Willy Barton / Shutterstock


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