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Filter bubbles and how to sidetrack them…sort of…

14 Jul
Bubble

Bubble cc licensed and shared by basquiat (Jens Mayer)

I keep coming back to the concept of the ‘filter bubble’ or Web 3.0/semantic web. There is no doubt that finding ways to access data and information smarter is a goal of most. We all love efficiency. Furthermore, having an ability to sort the minefield of thought/information and knowledge in cyberspace, in an effort to access the information you need as quickly as possible, is something to strive for. The following youtube clip stresses aspects about the positive elements of the semantic web.

However, as Eli Pariser’s Ted talk ‘beware of filter bubbles’  found in my post More on filter bubbles, highlights, the algorithms that have been developed or are being developed are focused too closely on matching information to what has been mapped based on the history of prior search and click activity. This is clearly where the web starts to narrow over time and you end up being less exposed to wider viewpoints, or diversity of information. This is exactly what I do not want. It clearly takes power and choice away from the individual in making broader and better informed decisions about information. I tend to agree with Pariser in urging the developers, including Google, to extend the algorithms used to account for a diversity of information. Representing many and contrasting viewpoints in an effort to counter this narrowing effect of the individual ‘filter bubble’ is hardly something one can argue against.

I am always interested in alternatives in search strategies as a way to sidestep the ‘filter bubble’. After all, I still believe humans are more powerful than the machine. The following youtube clip is widely popular with almost 1.5 million hits by the time I have embedded it here. It goes part way to indicating the strength of tagging as a process of sorting the data on the net.

In my search effort to discover how to sidestep the bubble, I have been traipsing the cybersphere and trying to find out as much as possible. I found a post on heyjude, (as I like to follow Judy) titled  Google+ plus the deeper web quite beneficial. This led me to start investigating further as it prompted the formation of a question in my mind about alternatives in search on the net. I discovered the search engine Duck Duck Go and found their Privacy policy beneficial as they don’t track your clicks. A further search resulted in the following List of Search Engines providing a comprehensive list of search engines and a brief description of each. I had a click on a few, and I do concede it could feel a bit like overload but,  it is worth a try. Interestingly, Duck Duck Go is missing from this list which begs the question what other search engine is missing?

The following wikipedia article, Web Search Engine provides another comprehensive list including information on whether the search engine is currently active. For people using Firefox as their web browser, you can go to the search addons site here and peruse over 2000 search engines that can be added to your search tool facility. When you need to search the added search engines are accessed via a pop down menu where you type in the search in the top right hand of the browser.

I have found it more difficult to add extra search engines to Chrome and would love to find out how to do this best.

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