How the net traps us all in our own little bubbles
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 12/06/2011 22:56
An invisible revolution has taken place is the way we use the net, but the increasing personalisation of information by search engines such as Google threatens to limit our access to information and enclose us in a self-reinforcing world view, writes Eli Pariser in an extract from The Filter Bubble
Few people noticed the post that appeared on Google's corporate blog on 4 December 2009. It didn't beg attention - no sweeping pronouncements, no Silicon Valley hype, just a few paragraphs sandwiched between a round-up of top search terms and an update on Google's finance software.
Not everyone missed it. Search-engine blogger Danny Sullivan pores over the items on Google's blog, looking for clues about where the monolith is headed next, and to him, the post was a big deal. In fact, he wrote later that day, it was "the biggest change that has ever happened in search engines". For Danny, the headline said it all: "Personalised search for everyone".
Starting that morning, Google would use 57 signals - everything from where you were logging in from to what browser you were using to what you had searched for before - to make guesses about who you were and what kinds of sites you'd like. Even if you were logged out, it would customise its results, showing you the pages it predicted you were most likely to click on.