The chances are over the last few days if you have even the slightest passing interest in SEO you will have come across Google Search Plus Your Web (of Search+ to it’s friends) It’s easily one of the biggest single changes in the UX of Google search ever made and is the endgame many have foreseen in Google’s march towards personalisation.
While talking about it many have referred to changes as encouraging ‘filter bubbles’ while the name is fairly self-explanatory I thought many people might benefit of a ‘primer’ on the filter bubble concept and some further reading which you might find interesting in light of Google’s changes.
As in pretty much every situation if you’ve only got ten minutes you can’t go too far wrong with Wikipedia. Their page on Filter Bubbles is a pretty good starting point. And if you can’t even be bothered to read that much the following paragraph gets right to the point
A filter bubble is a concept developed by Internet activist Eli Pariser in his book by the same name to describe a phenomenon in which websites use algorithms to selectively guess what information a user would like to see based on information about the user like location, past click behaviour and search history. As a result websites tend to show only information which agrees with the user’s past viewpoint.
Not surprisingly the book is available on Amazon, I’ve not read it myself, I’ve added it to my Kindle Wish-list but I’m fearful like ‘The Long Tail’ & ‘The Tipping Point’ it’ll fall into the ‘nice idea, but did you really need 200 pages to tell me that’.
Stephen Levy who knows a thing or too about Google, actually makes an interesting argument at Wired, that Search+ is better for dealing with Filter Bubbles, because there’s an ‘off switch’ that wasn’t there before. But the question is how many people will click that ambigious little toggle switch.
Popping the Filter Bubble is also being used as a marketing message for the aspiring search engine Duck Duck Go, which is an interesting positioning statement, especially given they appear to be setting themselves up as ‘Google before it got rubbish’
And if you really want to pop your own filter bubble, ComputerWorld.com has following advice.