The fantastic Google

Most of us use Google to find things online. The reason is simple: Google delivers the best search result. Or do they? How do you know? Because honestly, when was the last time you tried another search engine?

Each search you do is saved by Google, who use the data to deliver even better results, customized tailored for you. No surprise then that you find the results are good, since it already matches your interests. But this also means that you get stuck in your own little search bubble. So if you are looking to broaden your horizons, Google might not be that helpful after all…

I am not necessarily arguing that Google is evil or deliver poor results. But I do believe it’s a good exercise to every now and then critically reflect upon these things and services that we use every day without questioning.

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3 Responses to The fantastic Google

  1. dave says:

    While I do agree that it’s not a great idea to confine ourselves to one tool for any job, one statement you made could alarm some people and isn’t exactly true.

    You said:

    “Each search you do is saved by Google, who use the data to deliver even better results, customized tailored for you.”

    That’s true IF you allow it. You can prevent Google from saving your searches and cut down on those “targeted” results and get a broader spectrum of results (and alleviate a bit of that “google is watching” feeling).

    For one example – a lot of people don’t realize that even if you don’t (or do) have a Google or Gmail account you can DISABLE Google’s “web / search history” quite easily.

    Yes indeed, you can turn off Google’s “personalization” of your results for both instances – whether you’re signed in or signed out.

    Real simple –

    That link provides the basic easy steps to not only disable the “personalizaion” and tracking, but to also completely delete the “history” of data that Google has stored about you.

    This is no different than any other web service. Just like with FaceBook – people need to be aware that they must go into their account / privacy settings to change how their personal data is stored and used.

    So the problem isn’t really with Google. The problem is ignorance (and I do not mean that offesnively to anyone). It is through ignorance and laziness that people end up giving their information to all the major web services and letting those services have their way with that data.

    The controls and power is right in everyones hands, it’s just that people seldom take the time to read and/or change their settings per each service that they use.

    I like the fact that you bring up this topic for people to think about. However, I think it’s extremely important to also show them that they can actually control how their personal information is used and even completely wipe their entire search history clean if they want to, and never have it stored again.

    • Dan says:

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you. We need to make people more aware of how their data is being used and the options available. While is it not hard to disable the web history in Google, few people are aware of it and I would argue that it is only power users and geeks who know that is is possible (and why).

      • dave says:

        Exactly Dan, and that’s why I wanted to take the time to leave a comment. I think your original post has merit and my goal was to add something constructive to help spread awareness on all points above – yours and mine alike. Thanks for being receptive and taking it in the spirit as it was meant.

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