Skip to main content

Most people dislike personalised searching

In a poll of nearly 2,500 internet users, just under two thirds of those questioned said they really disliked the personalised search feature of well-established websites and didn't want, what they looked at, to be tracked.

This sort of issue was highlighted by Eli Pariser at a TED talk in 2011, where he discussed the problem with "filter bubbles" - which are personalised search results that lead us to only look at things, which we had looked at in the past. He argued that it was the sharing of information beyond our own small worlds that was what made the Internet great.

It seems the majority of those polled, by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, would agree, with 65 per cent saying they didn't want personalised search. When you link that in with Mr Pariser's talk, you understand that whether they like it or not, it's happening. Apparently, Google uses almost 60 different factors, including search history, browser choice, location and many others to delivery personalise search and news results, to the user.

"Search engines are increasingly important to people in their navigation of information spaces, but users are generally uncomfortable with the idea of their search histories being used to target information to them," said associate director for research at Pew, Kristen Purcell.

As Mr Pariser points out, this is indeed a problem. Filter bubbles mean that the information we receive online is tailored to us. It's safe, it agrees with us. The internet isn't designed as a digital yes man, it's supposed to expand our view of the world.

Source: Bizreport

Dipping his toes into almost everything that could be labeled 'nerdy' in his free time, Jon has been writing about technology for over half a decade. While mainly focusing on PC hardware thoughout this time, today he's more varied, covering everything from gaming to general electronics, industry perspectives and consoles. As well as writing for different sites, Jon enjoys wargaming, reading and PC gaming, hoping to balance out these geeky pastimes with fire spinning and MMA.