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How To Take Back Control Of Your Google Searches

Eli Pariser talks at TED about how we’re losing the internet to algorithmic gatekeepers at Google, Yahoo, Facebook and even our news sites, which tailor search results to what they think we want to see. Which is why I often start exploring my search results on page 10 instead of page 1. But what if some search results don’t even make it onto my queue?

The side by side comparison of two different users’ internet search on the term “Egypt” during the crisis there is a stunning example of how computerized gatekeepers choose for us what we see (and don’t see) when we log on.

You can’t have a functioning democracy if citizens don’t have a free flow of information.

I encourage you to watch the entire video, and hope the big mahoffs of the internet sitting in the TED audience heard Pariser when he told them this  –

We really need for you to make sure that these algorthms have encoded into them a sense of the public life, a sense of civic responsibility. We need you to make sure that they’re transparent enough that we can see what the rules are that determines what gets through our filters. And we need you to give us some controls so that we can decide what gets through and what doesn’t.

Because I think we really need the internet to be that thing that brings us all together. We need it to introduce us to new things, and new ideas, new people and different perspectives.

And it’s not going to do that if it leaves us all isolated in a web of one.

In the meantime, Pariser tells us ten things you can do now to get back onto the internet you fell in love with.  Here is his list of what to do – head to his site to learn how.

1. Burn your cookies.

2. Erase your web history.

3. Tell Facebook to keep your data private.

4. It’s your birthday, and you can hide it if you want to.

5. Turn off targeted ads, and tell the stalking sneakers to buzz off.

6. Go incognito.

7. Or better yet, go anonymous.

8. Depersonalize your browser.

9. Tell Google and Facebook to make it easier to see and control your filters.

10. Tell Congress you care.

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

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