Internet has moved on from being a technological invention to being an entity that forms a major part of our day to day lives. No sphere of our lives, at least in the urban areas has remained untouched by it. This post is a continuation of the same thread about a TED talk which opened my eyes to things that I did not know happened when I clicked the ‘search’ tab on Google.

A friend of mine shared the link of a TED lecture with me and asked me to watch it. I did so and the talk introduced me to a new phenomenon that I had noticed on the internet but had not taken that seriously. Turns out, I should have.

Here is the link:

Answer this. How many people do you have on your Facebook list? For most of us the number exceeds 100 at the very least. Now, on a daily basis how many different faces from that list appear on your home page? I am sure that by now you already get the drift.

The talk elaborates that based on the links you click on, Facebook prioritizes who is important to you. That person shows up more often from then on. Which means in most likelihood, hundreds of your friends get left out of the updates you receive on a regular basis. This is what can be called as the information bubble and you are the creator of that bubble in a way.

What is happening on Facebook might not be as relevant to our lives but something similar is done by Google as well. Did you know that the same word typed in the search box can throw up different results for different people? These are based on where you are located, your search history and several other factors. The same information is used to determine what ad is most relevant to you. Why does Google do it? They believe that they are customizing the result for you. Then what is the problem you would ask? Well to put it simply, this way you will never be exposed to new information! You will be trapped in your own information bubble.

Even if search engines are trying to help you, it might not be the best of the things to do. Relevant and vital information might be buried deep inside the chunk of unnecessary data. Also these are things that are happening without us even knowing about it. Why should somebody else decide what I should read and watch? The reason for the popularity of the internet was the freedom it offered us.  If I really wanted censorship, I would turn to China and not Google!

The internet was meant and still is, to ‘connect’. It is the single biggest equalizer that we have. If all your search results are unique and customized, your top results will follow a similar pattern. You do not search to know about things that you are already aware of. Right?

Advertisements