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Google, I thought you were our friend.

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aesir posted 7/26/2013 17:51 PM

We all know that Google keeps a profile on us, knows our search and viewing history, where we are located, and tries to provide search results in line with what it thinks we want to see, but this is ridiculous.

I was having a discussion over the phone with someone recently, and it lead to an analogy. There was some misunderstanding of what a term really meant, so it was suggested that we check google to settle it. Now we have vastly different viewing habits, search habits, and apparent political views, as well as geographic location. Should not really matter for a simple one issue item though WRONG!!!

We both punched in the exact same search term, and said "okay, here it is at the top."

Here are the respective results:‎
The dihydrogen monoxide hoax involves calling water by an unfamiliar name, "dihydrogen monoxide", followed by a listing of real effects of this chemical, often ...‎
Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, ...

Now if google can provide such vastly different information based on what it believes we want to see over such a simple concept (check the links, there is a huge difference between the results), what hope is there regarding important and complex topics? Maybe this is why it is called the Information Age and not the Knowledge Age.

Not sure how, but I suppose this could be used for vetting people, if you can just manage to search a few keywords on their computer and see what comes up.

Still makes me rather sad, and worried for the future.

Want2help posted 7/28/2013 02:14 AM

I'm dying to know what the analogy was.

Also, I have totally heard of H2O being called "dihyrdrogen monoxide" as a joke.

Lionne posted 7/28/2013 11:35 AM

t/j I use the DHMO page to show my students how to evaluate websites.

As to the different search results, here is a link...

I'm guessing from your results that the first result shows that wikipedia was used by that user more than the result obtained by the second user.

Not saying it's good or bad, but this is a long standing practice. Putting on my librarian's hat, it's really all about how one uses our search results. We can't just trust that what we find on the internet (or in books for that matter) is valid. As one kid said to me, "you mean we have to THINK!?"

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 11:39 AM, July 28th (Sunday)]

sisoon posted 7/28/2013 18:27 PM

But my impression of other major portals (Yahoo!, Comcast, AOL, etc.) is that they'll just try to sell you whatever you've searched for. And link to Amazon, who wants to sell you a book on whatever you searched for.

I think I'd like an engine that worked like Google did in 2003.

Lionne posted 7/28/2013 18:58 PM

Google does that, too. Your ads are targeted. And gmail is now embedding the ads in your account, annoying and intrusive. I am a googler, I like the sync, the seamless interaction of apps, it helps me stay organized, and I don't like apple products because of the cost. Still, it's commercial, designed to make money, it's capitalism in action. I have to work with it if I want to use the (mostly free) software.

Here are some alternative search engines. I haven't tried them. If you do, let me know what you think.

And, you could turn off the tracking in google, but, lazy as I am, I love auto-complete, like that they know my preferences...I recognize that I am giving up my privacy and proceed accordingly. There are huge issues here, some that the rebel in my is not comfortable with, but for everyday searching, I can live with them.

[This message edited by scaredyKat at 7:03 PM, July 28th (Sunday)]

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