Trapped in “Information Cocoons”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/books/review/book-review-the-filter-bubble-by-eli-pariser.html?_r=1&ref=technology

 

This article is a book review of “The Filter Bubble.”  The book explores how search engine companies like Google are filtering people’s searches and how the people that use them are limiting their own searches.  This article brings up three important questions about the use of search engines:

How much are users of search engines creating their own bubble or cocoon with their searches?

How are companies like Google affecting our searches with their algorithms?

Should Google and other search sights be more open about their algorithms so the public is more aware of how their searches are being filtered?

We’ve already touched on this subject a little bit in class with the collaboration between Bing and Facebook.  This article also ties in Google’s algorithm and how it could be limiting the way we search.  Even though you can turn off the filtering, I’ve actually never done it and I don’t know what I might be missing.  On the other side I’m not sure what kind of junk I would get if I turned off the filtering since companies invest in gaming the system so that their sight pops up first in your search.

Is it more important/necessary to have the filtering and lose some of the purity of your search?

Do you believe Google and other search engines will be able to adjust their search engines so that searchers don’t limit themselves by their search history?

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One thought on “Trapped in “Information Cocoons”

  1. I agree with Morozov’s POV. I think consumers deserve more transparency, but personalization has been tremendously beneficial. I remember the days before Google, when the search experience was painful. I found myself clicking on the “next” button multiple times to find what was relevant to my search term. In my opinion, search engines that use your search history to deliver highly relevant results are making people’s live easier. It is uncommon these days to click on links past the top 10 results.

    In a way, personalization in search engines is like having a conversation with a friend, a family member or co-worker. How annoying would it be if you had to explain your point to someone you already had a conversation with about the same topic? If you picked up the conversation at a later date, you would normally bring up something that was relevant to the last conversation.

    I think most people are intelligent enough to know what is biased and what isn’t. If they are curious enough, they can search for content that will swing towards the left or to the right. Honestly, I think Pariser’s agenda is politically driven. It would be difficult to make his case if you removed that aspect from the argument.

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