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DuckDuckGo: The "Filter Bubble" and How Google is Influencing What You Click

     
6:46 pm on Dec 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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DuckDuckGo has taken another pop at Google's and its way of, as it describes it, how it influences the way you click.

DDG has carried out some research on the "Filter Bubble", although it appears to be limited research.

The SERPs are being filtered, according to DDG. When using private browsing mode, and being logged out, ends in varying results for the test run, but unique to them.
With no filter bubble, one would expect to see very little variation of search result pages nearly everyone would see the same single set of results. That's not what we found.

Instead, most people saw results unique to them. We also found about the same variation in private browsing mode and logged out of Google vs. in normal mode.

Now, some search result variation is expected due to two factors that we controlled for. First, search results can change over time, such as the inclusion of time-sensitive links. We controlled for this factor by having everyone search at the same time.

Second, search results can change by location, such as the inclusion of local news articles. We controlled for this factor by checking all links by hand for this possibility, comparing them to the city and state of the volunteer.


It's worth reading the article in full.

[spreadprivacy.com...]
2:53 am on Dec 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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DDG shows Yahoo ads, and is talking down G for tracking people? Reminds me of a 1980 Billy Joel album...
1:49 pm on Dec 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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DuckDuckGo provides something different - they can attack their competitors on the tracking and personalisation front because that is their USP.

At the moment the ad provider space is all about tracking - perhaps if DDG gets traction some ad providers will follow suit and ditch the tracking.
4:26 pm on Dec 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I would have liked to have seen a much larger survey than the relatively small numbers. It would have given the research much greater acceptance.

We've all seen personalised results going on to some extent or another, and it's as if we've all gotten used to it being that way.

Even my tablet computer gets different results from all the other machines, and the tablet has the worst SERPs of them all (probably google's mobile index).
4:29 pm on Dec 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The piece does seem anecdotal, not allowing for 'randomisation' (quite likely for the assistance of CTR to reshape results), but I think their message is generally quite good for awareness and the possibility of alternatives. At the moment, having one singular entity serving the majority of results simply isn't healthy.
 

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