The 365 Commitment

The Filter Bubble

This blog has nothing to do with personal improvement, which is sort of the theme of my writing. Well, maybe it does. Last week I started to realize that my search topics in Google were being filtered in some way. Now at great risk do I write this note, I might become a target of the borg. You may never hear from me again after I write this! Anyway, it was on a topic that has to do with my job. I noticed how my search results seemed to be favoring certain research sites that were highly favorable to cloud computing. Now there could be two reasons for this. 1. Google may have an incentive to filter results that would go against cloud computing as they are one of he largest cloud computing providers in the world and 2. Google’s search engine is trained over time to return results that I would be the most interested in. So being a person deeply involved in cloud computing, then maybe the search algorithm is targeting me appropriately.

I have often times suspected this, and there is more than one political site crying foul over Google’s search algorithm. However, I have always been a google follower. I think my google search history has been active since 1999 when they first started to track search history. It is sort of interesting, I can actually do some research on my google search history. Interesting what changed about me over the last 20 years. However, I downloaded one of the popular search alternatives called Duck Duck Go. Put it on my phone and computer. I spend this last week searching results with that tool instead. The results have been refreshing to say the least. First of all I have found many sites publishing material that I have not seen before. Google has been directing me in one particular path, and now that I am searching without this filter bubble, I am finding a whole new world for exploration. I am now longer locked in if you will.

So there is a filter bubble, no doubt about it. I did a bunch of searching and compared the results from Google search versus Duck Duck Go. Some were the same, however, there were many results that just did not show up on Google search at all. Here is Duck Duck Go’s analysis of this. Now to be fair, Google completely refutes this touting this as a feature to be praised. They are indeed creating an intelligent search filter that is focused on what is appealing to you. However, it certainly made me more aware of what might be influencing me in terms of what I read, browse, and study.

Extending this further, this experience this week has called into question sources that I do get information from. Have I created my own little bubble, with our without Google’s help? Makes me wonder how much I am being influenced by what I tune into, watch, digest, and participate in. Maybe I should shake it up a bit now and then? Who knows what advice, guidance, perspective, introspection I would get if I got my feedback from some different sources now and then?

Guy Reams

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