Sparked by the news of Google’s latest search innovation, this post looks at the way the Internet’s biggest players are changing the way it works.
Eli Pariser’s TED talk up there is… well, telling! If you didn’t watch it, his basic point is that the larger internet navigation platforms out there build nice, safe, comfy ‘bubbles’ around you; bubbles in which you are exposed only to the content an algorithm believes is relevant to you.
You might already know this. Most people who work on or with the Internet do. But a lot of people do not. A lot. Consider the number of people who barely understand how to use Twitter and Facebook properly, or the number of (apparently) super-tech-savvy Gen-Yers that actually understand what’s going on behind the scenes (not many -ask some out on the street if you don’t believe us)… If you have even an elementary understanding of this stuff, you’re part of the minority. (Congratulations.)
We can assume that some users have noticed the filter-bubble trend, but most won’t have. So before we get into asking whether or not the filter system is the way to go, we think it’s worth asking whether or not this kind of thing should be happening without people knowing. Should it? Hard to say… but people can’t have an opinion about how they use the internet if they don’t know how things are changing.
As far as filter bubbles go, there are two main camps: those who think the bubbles are great and those who don’t. Surprise surprise. No doubt both have experts and gurus on their side…
The bubbles are certainly good for marketers and advertisers, who can now go straight to people who might be interested. And many users are more than happy to see relevant content -and even relevant advertising. But is it okay for people to live in their own little bubbles? The world is not all rainbows and unicorns. (Unfortunately.)
Yet data mining and the ability to offer clients targeted advertising is big big money…
And what does Google’s newest search function mean? Again not an easy one… It could go both ways. In one sense it could make it easier for people to pigeonhole themselves by pointing them at exactly what they want, but in another it allows them to make leaps into new and wonderful territory through semi-relevant side links (a bit like Wikipedia we imagine). It’ll probably all come down to the user’s mood… And then there are all the new factors for SEO it might bring into play!
Food for thought!
Not interested but think this sounds important? It’s interesting to us! Some people think that makes us weird; they might be right, but someone needs to stay on top of these things.
What do you reckon about at all this? We’d love to hear your thoughts.