What is Google hiding from you?

The Google logo at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

The search giant is being investigated by at least three states as well as the Federal Trade Commission over possible anti-trust issues. That's not especially surprising given that Google currently enjoys a search market share somewhere in the mid 60 percent range in the United States. That number is significantly higher in other countries, many of whom have long been concerned over the inordinate power Google enjoys in presenting information.

Eli Pariser is author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You. Pariser first rose to prominence as executive director of the liberal online grass roots organization MoveOn.org. His new book deals with what he sees as the limited scope of information Google serves to the average person.

"Google places us in clusters," he says, "and then looks at what others click on if it doesn't know what we're likely to click on. We're sort of used to thinking about Google with this idea that it's sort of the whole web voting on which website best answers the question posed. Now that's being mixed with what's you're own personal truth, not what's the truth."

So you're more likely to see things that you agree with and that you've seen before rather than be exposed to new information and viewpoints that may differ from your own.

Google recently launched a feature called Google Instant Results, which starts to load what it thinks you'll eventually click on even before you're done typing what you want to find. Although Google says this will save everyone from time, Pariser is troubled by a trend toward less searching. "Bigger picture, this is push toward what Google calls search without search," he says. "Can we anticipate what you'll search for even before you come to Google? When we move closer and closer to that, we have to remember we're giving up control and that control may not be used always in our own best interests."

Also in this program, a robot artist that is clumsy! Check out the video below.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.


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