Search engines are handy tools for sure, but were you aware that your search engine knows you probably better than you know yourself? Are you also aware that your search engine may be responsible for narrowing your views and information sources?
A good experiment to try is to perform several different searches on your computer and then do the same searches on your work computer or your wife’s computer. You will find that the results will most likely be different, and the differences will be based on past search history. This is referred to as the “Filter Bubble”. As an example, I did a search on the word “China” on my computer and it came up with mostly results related to economics and the political situation. The same search on my wife’s computer came up with travel and art results. I was on the phone once recently with a friend of mine who tends to be quite a bit more conservative in his politics than I am. When I asked him to do a search related to GMO crop issues, his results were totally different than mine. My first few pages were mostly news sites and blogs tailored to the “liberal” person, whereas his results were mostly the “conservative” news sites and blogs.
This may appear to the user as a convenience, but I believe it may be one of the major players in the ever-increasing polarization of America. It is also probably serving as a large factor in the dumbing of America. People are receiving only information tailored just for them based on prior searches, sites they have visited before, and their “click history”. The end result of this is a user that is only subjected to a very narrow and pre-biased set of results, which will only get narrower as time goes on.
The “Liberal” will get more liberal, and the “Conservative” will get more conservative. Nobody will be allowed to see any views that are different than their own, thereby perpetuating the mindset.
It’s just like the guy who watches MSNBC all day trying to have a logical discussion with the guy that watches FOX News all day, it ain’t gonna happen!
Get away from Google and you may find that there is a world full of information you were never aware of!