What Google Won’t Let You See

Small Time Crooks
There’s been a video getting kicked around librarian circles the past few days that I thought you all might like to watch. Many people these days look at the internet as the Great Equalizer, believing that it brings new ideas to people every day. And maybe it did, at one point in time. But there’s a distressing trend lately–more and more, the internet is only showing you what it thinks you want to see.

There’s a big difference there. When I Google something, and when you Google something, the results pages are going to be different. Sometimes completely different. But no one knows about that fact–or at least, few people know about it. Here–watch the video, and then I’ll give you a bit more commentary below.

What did you think? Did you have any idea that was happening? The reason I find it so distressing is that more and more, people are only going to be exposed to ideas they already have and already agree with, if this trend continues. When your ideas are never challenged, you never have to defend them. I believe ideas get stronger through debate. It’s important to expose yourself to other ideas to make certain what you believe is correct–or that you really believe it.
If you’d like to combat this trend somewhat, you can turn off Google’s search history personalization. To find out how, check this link. Of course, that only takes care of some of the problem–not all of it. My hope is that talks like this one will raise awareness, which will eventually correct the trend.

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