Defining your own filter bubble

By | June 28, 2012
If an American searches for 'Egypt', he will get a different set of results than an Egyptian searching for 'Egypt'. This effect is known as the filter bubble: we are all being presented results optimized for what the search engine thinks we'd like to see. But of course, we want to personalize that. And that's what the context-sensitive search does.

In general, as long as the filter can be taken off or reset at will to allow a searcher to discover things beyond their knowledge base, I think that filter bubbles are a good thing. They make searching more comfortable. Unless, of course, you're a Java programmer who loves Java coffee… I guess then you're out of luck!

Reshared post from +Bill Slawski

Context Sensitive Search at Google

A patent granted to Google this week describes how Google might use a contextual click model to influence the search results that someone sees during a search session.

Search for java and choose a page on the island of java as a search result, listed among the many Java programming type results.

A subsequent related search might start seeing a lot more results about the island of Java as those get boosted in the search results, since the context of your search involves pages about the island of Java.

Come back a day later, after your search session has ended, and search for java again, and your search results won't be influenced by the results you clicked on yesterday, since today you might be interested in the drink or in Java programming.

How Google May Re-Rank Search Results Based the Context of What You Click
A Google patent shows how Google may re-rank search results based upon the search context of what you click upon in search results.

8 thoughts on “Defining your own filter bubble

  1. Sophie Wrobel

    +Peter Strempel you're not the only one who google handed out a sex reversal to! Then again, back when AdSense introduced their demographic guessing, they got quite a few people wrong. If anything, it goes to say what typical demographic stereotype you best fit in in terms of advertisement targeting stereotypes – or a convolutex and hideous way of second-guessing second-guessed interest profiles.

  2. Peter Strempel

    What is you're a thirty-something black woman living in NYC, except you're actually a middle aged white man not living in the US at all?

    Google programmers must be good at something, but picking my demographic isn't among those things.

  3. R. Harden

    So how would one do a completely unfiltered Google search?  One that wouldn't put any filters on his results based on who, or where he/she might be?

  4. Sophie Wrobel

    +David Bennett What I would really like to see is a mindmap-style search. When you click on results, you drill deeper into a branch on the mindmap… the focus helps on exploring new knowledge. But when you reset, you start back at level zero and can explore a new definition path.

  5. David Bennett

    I want to see what the filter doesn't think I want to see. That is the way of education rather than of being defined by past actions.


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