March 8, 2014 Michael Rupe

Google Removes Option to Hide Private Search Results?

Can You Find the Hide Private or Personal Results Option in Your Search Settings?

Back in January I wrote a quick post about how I was not seeing the option to hide or show personal search results.  At the time, I was seeing this intermittently, so I wasn’t sure if it was something up with my profile or if I was noticing something Google was testing.

Where did the option to remove personal or private search results go?


Did I Miss a Google Announcement About Removing the Option to Hide Personal Results?

I kind of forgot about this, but today it hit me that I’m not seeing the option at all anymore.  So, if I’m logged into Google, I get personalized results….period.  I cannot find anyway to “turn personalization off” within my search settings or Google+ profile. I’ve performed searches on the web and Google+ and cannot find any mention of Google removing the ability to turn off personal search results.

Has Google Finally Decided That They Have Enough “Personal Data” to Provide Great Personalized Search Results?

I knew this day would come, but I’m still wondering if Google has actually moved to a completely personalized search engine when signed into Google.  As I mentioned previously, I’m kind of confused as to why I’m not able to find anyone noticing or talking about not being able to turn off the “private” search results.  As you know, Google makes changes to their search results all the time and they do not comment on them until long after the changes have been live or until someone mentions the changes.

I searched Google’s search help and everything still mentions you can turn off private results.  However, I’ve included some screen captures showing that I’m not seeing the option anymore.

No private options within settings

Google Help Documents

Turn Off Private Results - Google Help

Private Search Results - Google Help

Expected To See Google Offer a “Filter by Circles” Personalization Option

I actually expected Google to offer a “filter by circles” option under the search settings when a search is performed.  As the usage of Google+ continues to grow I really expected Google to allow users to filter search results by the various circles they may have.  This is one of the reasons I think it is important to have clearly defined circles and segment people/pages you add to each carefully.  Sort of an expansion on how they allow you to search in Google+ for content only from your circles.

Give me an option to filter results by people within a specific circle or include results from a specific circle and ALL connected entities.   This kind of filtering is what I expected/expect to see Google do over time, as they aggregate Google+ user data.

A hack of what I wanted to see Google moving towards is below.  


Filter Personal Search Results by Circles


Are You Still Seeing the Option to Hide Private Search Results in Google?

Let me know if you are still seeing the option to hide private results, or if I totally missed how Google is now allowing users to hide/show private results….

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Michael Rupe

Founder of T3 SEO Internet Marketing Services Company.