Disable Personalized Search Browser Add-ons

It happens occasionally when I am on the phone to a client, they are looking at one set of search results in Google and I am seeing a different set for exactly the same search term. In the past it’s down to us accessing different datacenters when Google are in the process of updating their index. It’s never a problem because I have just changed to accessing the same datacenter as my client by typing http://64.233.161.107 or whatever my client’s datacenter IP address happens to be at the time, into the address bar of my browser.

Now I have come across an additional problem, just once but I know it will occur with increasing frequency. My client is logged into their Google Account and is being served personalized search results which of course I cannot duplicate. When this actually happened my solution was to simply have the client sign out of their account. Also of course I had to make sure I was signed out of my Google account as well and this could become a real pain.

Recently I have found myself signing in and out of my Google account like a fiddler’s elbow and was looking for a better solution. Matt Cutts provided the clue when he mentioned at a recent conference that if you want to turn off personalized search for a particular query you just have to paste the parameter “&pws=0” to the end of your query string. That’s a nice touch but it really needs a browser extension to make it work ‘under the hood’.

So here they are - an IE and a Firefox add-on.

For IE7.

Download degsie.zip

Unzip

Close all instances of IE.

Run the unzipped DepersonalizeGoogleSearch – IE

That’s it! All searches on any Google search domain will now be appended with “&pws=0”

You can toggle (enable or disable) the add-on in the browser by going to Tools —> Manage Add-ons —> Enable or Disable Add-ons and locating “DepersonalizeGoogleSearch”.

You can uninstall the add-on in the normal way with Add/Remove programs in Windows.

For Firefox.

Download degsff.zip

Unzip

Close all instances of Firefox.

Run the unzipped DepersonalizeGoogleSearch – Firefox

That’s it! All searches on any Google search domain will now be appended with “&pws=0”

You can toggle (enable or disable) or remove the add-on in the browser by going to Tools —> Add-ons and selecting “DepersonalizeGoogleSearch”. You can also uninstall the add-on with Add/Remove programs in Windows.

If you don’t have international clients or only ever search on one Google country specific domain then you may want to look at Joost de Valk’s Google de-Personalized Search for Firefox and IE7 as an alternative.

Joost’s OpenSearch plugin uses the browser search box but if you want to opt-out of Google personalized search permanently or for long periods the DepersonalizeGoogleSearch add-on uses the regular Google search box so you can continue searching as normal.

If you do use the DepersonalizeGoogleSearch add-on any feedback would be appreciated, just leave a comment below.

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