A little old, but still good reading. Charlene Li writes about Google’s personalised home page:
Why is Google doing this? Is this a concession to the strength of portal competitors? To a great degree, yes. Of the people who use Google most frequently to search the Interent, only 17% also have Google as their default home page compare that to 72% that use MSN for search and also have it as their home page (more details are here available only to Forrester subscribers). google users The biggest advantage that Yahoo and MSN (and yes, AOL) have is that they each have tens of millions of registered users. This is important if these sites want to be able to provide differentiated services to their users. In the end, its all about loyalty and offering a better service thanks to personalized services will the differentiator.
Heres an example. Today, if I type in a search for cruise vacation I would get the same results as you would . But with the advent of My Search History from Google and personalized search initiatives from Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves, the game appears to be to sign up users whom the search engines can then mine for data to provide a better search experience. Google is clearly behind and needs to step up their efforts to sign up users hence the launch of the personalized home page. Google is very behind in terms of default home page share and it hopes to remedy this situation quickly (stats on default home page and search loyalty are available only to Forrester clients.)
But why would people give up a rich interface like Yahoo, MSN, or AOL for Google? I believe that only Google loyalists will do so. You can recognized them they talk about how they used Google to solve gnarly problems and gross on and on about Gmail. But for the rest of us, well need to be convinced that it makes sense.
I think that day will come when Google not only offers RSS-enabled content (its an interesting change of pace to see Google chasing the industry leaders for a change) but also uses intelligence gathered from watching registered users behaviors. For example, if I subscribe to a feed of Canadian news in Google news, but only read articles about Montreal and always ignore news from Vancouver, then the service would push forward Montreal news and de-emphasize (or even not show) articles about Vancouver.
Needed: information dashboards.