Google Has a New Search History Tool

by Harold Davis

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Google has a new feature that tracks your search history. (Click the link to open the sign-up page for the application, which otherwise can be accessed through Google Labs.) This is another one of Google's wonderful tools that is a "beta" that is not really a beta.

So far, the functionality is pretty straightforward and (at least for me) very useful. When you are logged in, and you can log in of course from any computer, Google keeps track of your searches. You can click on any of the links that represent a saved search to see the full text of a search. You can also retrieve searches by date using the calendar that the Search History Tool provides.

Once you sign up for the Search History Tool, your Google home page changes. Up on the right-hand top, you'll see your sign-in email, a link that takes you to your account history (which is where to find the calendar and search links, and also the ability to remove any or all search items), a link that takes you to your Google account settings, and a link to sign out. If you do sign out, Google's home page will show you a sign-in link.

Keeping track of my search history is a very useful feature for me. I can't tell you how many Google searches I do a day (probably in the three or four digits), although the Seach History Tool will in fact tell me this. Many times, I've "lost" information from a search that I thought I didn't need (but actually did!) The Search History Tool will pretty much solve this problem for me, I think.

Down the road, the Search History Tool will probably let Google refine searches for me based on my search history (it remains to be seen how helpful this is).

The Search History Tool may allow customization that is an important weapon in the battle against search spam, because I may be able to "train" my future searches by deploying a "Junk" setting against my Search History results. Other forms of search customization, once I'm logged in to search, are also possible of course.

I also see the Search History Tool as a Trojan horse for the introduction of more Yahoo-like services. Google needs to know its users better to create these services: and what better way to know someone than to keep track of their searches?