Not as popular as I thought?

February 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Posted in waffle | Leave a comment
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Network from Michael Rigley on Vimeo.

A few weeks back I posted about my old Phase Diagrams website, and noted that it was number 2 (after Wikipedia) on a Google search for ‘phase diagrams’. And so it is, for me… and possibly me only. What I had failed to take account of is that Google personalises web searches, and so I suppose that it should have been obvious that relevent links located at the University (soton.ac.uk) would have a much higher ranking when I (with an @soton email) was searching using a PC in the soton.ac.uk domain.

So although at one level, personalised search is great because it means that I see the results that are most relevant to ME, it is also terrible because I’ll never know what results the Google algorithms have decided I shouldn’t see. Its a bit like the ‘Daily Me‘ personalised newspapers (printed on rip-proof Tyvek) that the Guardian envisioned in 1994. The danger is that if people only choose the news they want to read, they won’t see the news they need to read. Or perhaps we already have that with the tabloids’ relentless diet of celebrity, sport, sleaze and advertorials…

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