Thanks to AOKP, I’ve recently upgraded to Jelly Bean and I met with Google Now. I really liked the idea behind it but, unfortunately, my experience with the Google Now is not even close to what’s been advertised on Google’s landing page for the product. It just couldn’t go beyond displaying weather forecast cards for the days ahead, which is quite understandable considering I’m refusing to turn my search history on :)
Google introduced the Web History in 2005 (was “Search History” back then); I’ve never enabled it, not even tried it once. But I always had the feeling of missing something important.
I’m against the idea of logging the keywords I use not because Google is gathering and storing this information and using it for research, but because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you. Like the facts about your political views, religion, health concerns etc.; facts that might create troubling scenarios in certain conditions if revealed.
Let’s be honest; we are not always searching for our favorite sports team’s scores or flight schedules. We sometimes search for our ex girl/boyfriend’s whereabouts or CV of a newly joined co-worker. It gets even naughtier on some occasions :)
You don’t need a massive hack attempt to gain access to someone’s private search history; it just takes a curious co-worker accessing your computer at lunch time (or your pathologically ill-minded girl/boyfriend while you’re asleep?). Also, since recent example of LinkedIn taught us that even the biggest sites with dedicated team of security professionals are susceptible to breaches, we know that that possibility is not a far one either.
I believe that what we need here is a “pause” button. We must be able to suspend our search history for a brief period of time, which will allow us search for our necessary evil off the record, and then go on the record again. What I want is a state comparable to the “incognito mode” offered by most of the modern browsers or “pause protection for 5 minutes” type of flexibility offered by most of the anti-virus software programs. This way, we can enjoy the benefits of our search history without worrying about what might can be discovered if someone digs into our keywords and visited sites.
However, I doubt that Google will ever implement such feature.
Search history is on by default on new registrations (just checked and verified it) and most of the users never realize that Google is recording every keyword they are searching and every search result they are clicking. They just enjoy the “personalized” search experience without knowing the risks. Putting a button near the “I’m feeling lucky” button wouldn’t bring good luck to Google, obviously. So, Google will just ignore this and keep trying to convince people who already disabled their web history with new products like Google Now :)