Turning Off Google's Personalized Results With PWS=0

Apr 5, 2011 • 9:04 am | comments (15) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

Back in 2007, we documented how to turn of Google's personalized results by using a URL parameter. It worked well, all you had to do is conduct a Google search and append a small parameter to the end.

So if you searched for [apple] the URL in Google would look like google.com/search?q=apple. To make sure it was not personalized, you'd have to append &pws=0 to the end, so it would look like google.com/search?q=apple&pws=0. That would then modify the results to be un-personalized, even if you were logged into Google.

Google Personalized Results - PWS=0

The thing is, with the launch of Google Instant, Google URLs became a bit whacky and appending &pws=0 didn't always work.

So now what? Well, you can turn off Google Instant and then use the &pws=0 parameter.

Honestly, I keep Google Instant on but I have a special search widget that keeps the Google search URLs intact. I believe this makes sure that when I do a &pws=0 search, the results are indeed not personalized. Correct me if I am wrong.

How do you make sure the results are not personalized on Google?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Comments:

Tom Robinson

04/05/2011 01:12 pm

Using SEO Site Tools plug in on Chrome it also gives you the option when you make a search to turn off personalisation which seems to work quite well and could be a bit quicker??

Tad Chef

04/05/2011 01:18 pm

I use the Google Global Firefox extension to do this for me. Unfortunately it doesn't work for Google +1 though.

Barry Schwartz

04/05/2011 01:23 pm

Should work, I have another search extension.

franz enzenhofer

04/05/2011 01:43 pm

the good old depersonalizer http://www.facesaerch.com/depersonalizer/ for country specific searches, and well this is my default search engine for the google chrome omni bar http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&pws=0&hl=all

Gyi Tsakalakis

04/05/2011 01:54 pm

Danny Dover discusses creating an unpersonalized bookmark in his new book: http://www.amazon.com/Search-Engine-Optimization-SEO-Secrets/dp/0470554185 With it, you can perform unpersonalized searches right in your address bar (i.e. g hamburgers will return unpersonalized results for hamburgers).

Right Agents

04/05/2011 02:39 pm

Chrome anonymous. A restart clears the cache

Dan

04/05/2011 02:47 pm

I have used Yoast Firefox plugin, works great: http://yoast.com/tools/seo/disable-personalized-search-plugin/ Dan

Peter

04/05/2011 03:41 pm

"I have a special search widget that keeps the Google search URLs intact" - what is this special search widget?

Andrea Moro

04/05/2011 08:15 pm

Hey Barry, I'm not sure if you popped in Google Webmaster Forum later today, but it looks like I have not only posted the question, but I've found the solution as well. In theory appending &ows=0&filter=0 it should solve the problem. Hopefully somebody else can have a try and confirm this. it looks like the filter=0 is disabling google instant. I should do some extra test to see if in that circumstance google drop the cookie, but at the moment I was more concerned about finding a quick way to have a clean and unpersonalized result.

Andrea Moro

04/05/2011 08:15 pm

Hey Barry, I'm not sure if you popped in Google Webmaster Forum later today, but it looks like I have not only posted the question, but I've found the solution as well. In theory appending &ows=0&filter=0 it should solve the problem. Hopefully somebody else can have a try and confirm this. it looks like the filter=0 is disabling google instant. I should do some extra test to see if in that circumstance google drop the cookie, but at the moment I was more concerned about finding a quick way to have a clean and unpersonalized result.

Barry Schwartz

04/05/2011 08:16 pm

Does it work or it is a theory?

Redfly Marketing

04/05/2011 09:48 pm

Should work shortly :)

Herbertwest1

04/06/2011 11:16 am

There is also the Private Navigation of Firefox!

Mark

08/09/2011 03:28 am

I tried &ows=0&filter=0&pws=0&num=100 but had no joy. Even though I wasn't signed in to any Google sites (gmail etc) the results returned was 10 per page (my personalised setting) and not the 100 I requested. So somehow Google is ignoring the URL params and/or overwriting them with my cookie values.

ZedMbugua

01/19/2012 04:36 pm

1. From the Bookmarks | Organize Bookmarks… menu, select any bookmarks folder in the left pane. (Do not simply select the All Bookmarks folder, because it won’t work.) 2. Right-click the folder and select New Bookmark… 3. Add the following values to the fields: Name: Google de-personalized search Location: http://www.google.com/search?&q=%s&pws=0 Tags: (Optional. Add any tags you want.) Keyword: g Description: (Optional. Use this to describe the search.) 4. Click Add. That’s it. Now, go to the Address field in Firefox (where you see a URL at the top of the browser) and type something like this: g hdmi cables This tells Google (g) to search for “hdmi cables”. More important, because your Location field included &pws=0, that URL parameter will carry over to your search result. From now on, if you want to perform a de-personalized Google search, simply type “g” (no quotes) and the query term from your URL field.

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