It seems like we all embrace the power of our social activities online. In most cases this is not due to a decision that we make ourselves, but because we are drawn into these developments by the platforms that we use. This morning I read an article shared by Blogstylers on their Google+ profile that made me stop and think about the consequences of some social developments on the web. And I highly recommend you to do the same.
The article by Phil Bradley was about the new feature of Google: “Search plus your world”. This new feature is meant to deliver you more relevant search results because it will be based on your social profile, at Google+.
At Google+? Yes, at Google+. This made me think and realize the influence that Google has on my learning. I always use Google to look for information about things that I don’t know. Stating that I’ve learned 10 times more from Google than university might even be somewhat of an understatement. And now they are basing my most relevant results on my profile at Google+? (Do I need to mention that again?) Here is how it would look according to their blog.
First response. I don’t really use Google+, how could it help improving my results? What about my Facebook friends? Or my (quite recent) connections on Twitter? How can those results be optimal when these are not included?
Second response. Do I actually like this personalization? For many reasons, personalization can be a good thing. The flow of information on the internet is massive and is becoming increasingly more difficult to select the information you find relevant or interesting. Still the answer is a clear no. At least not for Google. If i’d like to know the things my friends know, I’d rather talk to them. If that activity should be online, I write an email or meet at Facebook. That’s the online “bar” I go to for that type of information. I want Google to be my portal to those things that none of my friends know. The things that I can’t learn anywhere else due to the limitations of my real world network.
Google was one of the main forces that opened the window to an infinite amount of knowledge that can be shared on the internet. The article showed how Google is now closing that window and answered my first response that questioned how the results would actually be most relevant. In the comments of the article I found a TED video that shared my second concern about personalization from another perspective and I highly recommend you to watch it.
What do you think about personalization and social developments on the web? Do you think it will improve your online experience? Do you think Google will get even better in delivering “the information that is relevant to you”? Do you share the concerns about the consequences of filtering?