Sunday, 21 August 2011

Turning Chinese, no such thing as a standard search?

Short but sweet, this one. I have already noticed the filtering bubble on one or two sites that I use, particularly I increasingly get the "Chinese influence". Because of my interest in Chinese language, language learning related things and particularly Chinese related things and people I get increasingly connected to Chinese things and Chinese people. This is actually starting to become a hindrance, from the point of view of some services the granularity of what I may be interested in Chinesewise is pretty low. For example I can usually work out why Linkedin is suggesting I want to link with most of its suggestions, however on more than one occasion now it throws in a random Chinese person, who I have not worked with, isn't interested in the same things as me (technology or otherwise) and isn't even geographically that close (although to be fair UK rather than China is somewhat closer than it could be).

How many ways, are decisions about what I see being influenced by what is on my profile? On one site in particular I seem to get a suspiciously high number of adverts regarding hair restoring products and eye-care/laser treatment/optician related links. I don't search for these things, but it wouldn't take much processing to target me based on my follically challenged, bespectacled profile picture.

Once we wrote content for people to read, then wrote content for machines to read, now write content for people that machines may decide they want to read.

The thing I find really interesting however is that, if you are considering search engine optimisation you also increasingly need to consider the profile of the person who is doing the searching, because all search results are not equal. Perhaps even more worryingly increasingly more of our lives are being determined by computer algorithms, we are moving closer to time when algorithms control the world.

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