Do smart search results put us in a “filter bubble?”
This video rides a fine line between a thought-piece, and ad. (Nothing irresponsible in that. Plenty of companies are making drawing-ish animations in nerdy edutainment style at the moment.)
The main idea in this video is that Google results are so customized that they keep us in a bubble. ( Bad, according to the video.)
Let’s break this down. Google customizes stuff based on where else we’ve surfed (anywhere on web, based on cookies/history), stuff we’ve done on Google properties like YouTube (this goes a little beyond generic cookies/history), who our friends are (social graph mostly willfully provided by us in the form of a checkbox), location info (by our IP address, browser, phone) and personal data we’ve manually provided to Google in terms of structured info (*cough* Google+ profiles *cough* (+ profile info in other Google properties).
It suggests that we cannot escape from these customizations, even if we log out. This is mostly true. We can escape from all the cookies/history/social stuff if we log out/clear stuff out. But we’d have to manually change location stuff, even if logged out.
It bounces back and forth between two related, but separate ideas without distinguishing between them: results that are customized because they are are our taste (Presidential debate coverage from a a news source we trust), and results that are customized because they are taking a temporary state into account, (“Pizza delivery.” Well, you’re in Seattle… so we’ll give you Seattle results…)
It then suggests that if you want to escape the bubble, use Duck Duck Go.
I’m completely rooting for the company that made the video (Duck Duck Go, check them out), and I want there to be way more than one great search engine, and you know I’ve been critical of Google search results, but definitely take a moment to mentally unpack the difference between customizing, and bubbling.
Duck Duck Go’s “pizza delivery” results are not helpful.
(Still, rock on, Duck Duck Go.)
video via @meganberry on Twitter (not Google+ :D)