Sunday, May 28, 2017

Making Google Searches more Personal

Out of everything Google is known for, its search engine is most likely at the top of the list. We use Google many times every day to search the entire Internet for answers to our queries. But what if the answer is not located in the far reaches of the world? What if what you are looking for is right under your nose?

Recently Google has added a new advanced filter to its search that allows you to run "Personal" searches. This means rather than searching the entire world, you can just search your own data, such as your calendar, your images, your email, and more.

This can be a quick and easy way to find personal files or information across many of Google services, all from one place. See below for details on how to take advantage of this new "Personal" search option.

A Personal Search

To run a Google search through your own data, you can do the following:

  • Run a Google Search as normal in the Chrome Omnibox or on the Google website at
  • After you get the normal search results, click on the "More" menu option below the search box.
  • Now choose "Personal" from the drop-down menu.
  • The normal results will now be replaced with matches from your own data, such as your calendar, photos, emails, and more.

Note: No one else will be able to see these results. These search results can only be accessed by you.

Calendar Results

If there are events on your calendar that match the search term, you will see those results as an upcoming agenda. The first five results will be shows, but if there are more, you can click the "more results" link to see the full list.

Photo Results

If you use Google Photos to store your images online, a personal search will look for matches there as well. The powerful thing about Google's image search is the Google's artificial intelligence will actually look at your pictures to find items that match your search term. For example, when I did a personal search with the word "tree" the results came back with my photos from a recent hike we took.

Again, Google will only show a collection of the first photo matches. To see them all, click the link to "View all Google Photos results".

Email Results

A Google personal search will also check through your Gmail messages to find matches. At the moment it looks like Google returns the first ten results from your Gmail.

Purchase Results

A personal Google search will even look through your Google Play purchases for matching movies, music, apps, and such. A search for "lion" brought up my Google Play rental of the wonderful movie Lion (which coincidentally has Google Earth as a key element in the plot).


Google is constantly updating, tweaking, and improving their search engine. Rather than stop at a simple Google search, you can easily extend your query to images, videos, news, maps, books, and more. Now you can also include your own personal data in that search to make it easier than ever to find what you need.

For additional search tips and tricks, be sure to check out my earlier post on "20 Instant Google Searches your Students Need to Know".

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. I don't have the "Personal" option under the "More" menu. Only Maps, Books & Flights.

    1. It looks like it may only be rolled out to Gmail accounts so far, and not G Suite yet.

  2. I don't have the "Personal" option either.

  3. I have a Gmail account, but don't see the option :(