PROGRESS? Google unveils new ‘smart feed’ in Search with a ‘follow’ option.

At an unveiling in San Francisco on Tuesday, the Mountain View search giant gave a preview of the new “smart feed” scheduled to roll out for Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices. It identifies areas of interest selected by a user, and their history of using Search, YouTube and other Google products, to produce a stream of news stories and other information intended to be unique to each user.

“None of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person,” said Shashi Thakur, Google’s vice-president of engineering for Search. “It’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you.”

A “follow” button will appear next to certain search results including those concerning movies, sports, bands and celebrities. Hitting the button puts the topic into the feed.

The feed also relies on Google’s algorithms, which find out about a user’s interests by combing through their search history, the videos they watch on YouTube, music downloaded via Google Play, and their use of all other Google services. Location data is also used, according to Google.

Sounds helpful, but I’ll never be comfortable with that level of tracking.