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Personalisation of Web Search: Exploring Search Query Parameters and User Information Privacy Implications – The Case of Google

Personalised search adapts search results to the needs and interests of users. This is done through user data collected through various implicit and explicit methods and is used to build profiles of information needs of users. This paper highlights the need to explore search query parameters and determine their impact on personalisation. This is a first step in exploring the mechanisms of personal data collection and how personalised search uses personal data, which subsequently impacts the information privacy of users. It was found that location parameters have more impact on personalisation than the parameter 'pws’ that switches personalisation on or off. Hence, it is important to undertake further research that investigates the impact of other types of search query parameters, their contribution towards search personalisation and their impact on user information privacy.

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