Google is rolling out a new feature that will use some of your data to “improve your search experience.” According to the Official Google Blog, we can expect to see a notation appearing in the upper right hand corner of search results pages that state “Customized for the [your city] area.” Using the location of your ISP, Google will give prominence to results that come closest to that location. You will have the ability, apparently, to dictate which address is used for the location customization.
What is not made clear is whether you will be able to turn this thing off.
A futher customization has to do with recent searches you have performed:
We take into account whether a particular query followed on the heels of another query. Because recent search activity provides such valuable context for understanding the meaning behind your searches, we use it to customize your results whenever possible, regardless of whether you’re signed in or signed out.
Google says it will hang onto your hot pursuit data “for a limited time” only, though it does not say what the limits are. Neither does it say whether you can disable this focusing of your search.
This sort of “help” might be useful for the average searcher, but it could prove a real annoyance for any information professional, introducing as it does, a skew into the process that one may not be able to control for.