Google, Search History, Personalization and Bubbling
There are four main things you may wish to consider doing.
- Deleting your web search history.To do this:
- Go to http://www.google.com/history
- Log in
- Delete your search history.
- Stopping search history being collected.If you want to do this, from the same login as above, click the button to pause web history collection.
- If you would like to stop Google using its data about you to personalize ads, you can opt out by going tohttp://www.google.com/ads/preferences
and opting out of personalization.
I have been using a different search engine called DuckDuckGo a lot
of the time for a few months now. It doesn’t retain data about your
searches and also, doesn’t do what’s become known as bubbling.
Bubbling is the process of returning different results to different
users based on what the search engine thinks you want, based on many
different signals such as what you’ve clicked on before, where you’ve
been on the web, where you are in the world etc.
I’m not going to go so far as to say bubbling is bad or evil: many people like it. But a consequence of it is that the range of information you get presented to you is filtered by something guessing what you want, with the result that you see an increasing narrow, unchallenging range of content.
There are a couple if good resources to learn more about bubbling. One is DuckDuckGo’s explanation of it at http://dontbubble.us/. Another is a TED talk by Eli Pariser, who explains the issue very clearly. You can see it at: http://www.thefilterbubble.com/ted-talk. He also has a book called The Filter Bubble (which I haven’t yet read).