Give it a thought….

We all are probably well-aware that Facebook’s News Feed and Google’s search results adjust based on our behavior and preferences while browsing the internet. In times to come browser will act like a personal assistant. As you search the Web, the browser learns what you are interested in. The more you use the Web, the more your browser learns about you and the less specific you’ll need to be with your questions. This would definitely save us a lot of time. But is Google’s autosuggest algorithm and the web’s other algorithms making us collectively uninformed as a society……

I have observed over time that my FB feeds show me the updates of my friends on whose photo albums and posts I click, comment regularly and it has started ignoring posts etc from the friends for whom I have never commented. But this doesn’t mean I would not like to get any updates from my ‘less known’ friends.

This algorithmic of invisible editing of the web(based on personal preferences and Geo location in case of Google) will move us to a world where the Internet will show us what it thinks we need to see, but not what we should see. For instance there is a huge diversity of search results our friends find on Google about topics like India, where one friend sees Budget news, while another sees results about travel and vacations.

Many people in the web World are calling it as a personal ‘filter bubble’. Many are arguing that the trend toward personalization must end, and believe the likes of Facebook and Google need to “have a sense of civic responsibility and let us know what’s getting filtered … and offer controls to let us decide what gets through and what doesn’t.”

Ideally what one should see, is an information world that gives us a bit of everything, marked by controls that let us filter content by its relevance, importance, and perspective (with an option to see the alternative).

What do you think? Is the personalization of the web making us less informed? Or we are happy with the way things are moving in the web World where we get what we like? Do the companies driving innovation on the web have a responsibility to give us a fuller world view?

– Komal Arora
Manager – Technologies
Compare Infobase Limited

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  1. #1 by Brad Fallon on March 8, 2011 - 12:20 pm

    So it seems that we are guided by the browser of what we are going to see. “Filter bubble”, very alarming and very unfair. Thanks for this very nice post.

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