I Don’t Usually Post Advertisements, But When I Do…

DuckDuckGo, the privacy aware search engine, takes on Google over “search personalization” and the effect this has on the results we see when seeking information.

The ad is spot on. As we increasingly drive our technologies to produce information “just for us”, and get just the information we’ll “like”, we each become constrained in information silos of our making, oblivious to the serendipity and challenge of stumbling across ideas that differ from our own.

Eli Pariser, Upworthy co-founder and author, calls this the filter bubble.

DuckDuckGo’s ad puts the concept to the test as it summarizes the search results of 131  volunteers.

Via Talking Points Memo:

The users, who weren’t signed into Google, did Google searches for the three chosen politically-themed terms — “abortion,” “gun control,” and “Obama” — and send in screenshots of their search activity to Weinberg and the DuckDuckGo programming team…

…The result was a wide variance in the resulting links that Google displayed, according to DuckDuckGo’s experiment. For example, in the case of searches for “abortion,” some users received information on Obama’s public stance on abortion, while others did not. Some users also received information on pro-life activist Gianna Jessen while others did not.

“I think we had a big enough sample to show pretty definitively that the ‘filter bubble’ is real,” [DuckDuckGo’s founder Gabriel] Weinberg said.

As TPM points out, Google’s own documentation on personalized search indicates that even “if you turn off personal results and sign out of your Google Account, you may still see personalized results and results based on the context of your search.”

As in, even when you don’t want it, Google (and legions of others trying to customize information to taste) give it to you. — Michael

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  1. kagenoneko reblogged this from techcommblog
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  3. bookwormbreakfast reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    This is pretty cool! Google’s “personalization” stuff is indeed creepy as hell, and - as this ad suggests - not very...
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  7. radoration reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    *I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a while now. It isn’t just about privacy, it’s about access.
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    I Don’t Usually Post Advertisements, But When I Do… DuckDuckGo, the privacy aware search engine, takes on Google over...
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