Hm. I think I may be one of the people who winds up wanting the “normal” results, because I spend so much of my day helping people find things, I’d kind of hate to see what their queries would do to my results!
(And I wonder what this means for public computers? Will the seventeen “sex” searches which were done by one person skew the results of searches done by people who sit down to that machine later?)
Also doomed are the people who totally rely on the google to re-find things. We have patrons who search for “jobs in mass” each day, and have always been able to locate the same websites because the results were pretty static. If those start to fluctuate, it will become harder for these low-tech people to use the internet the way they’ve become comfortable. I think the most common phrase I’ll now be hearing is, “I searched for the same words yesterday and now that website isn’t there. No, I don’t remember what it was called – it was always the second one down.”
Which means either 1) Deep Freeze truly is a librarian’s best friend, or 2) these people need to be pushed across the digital divide (by teaching them modern search etiquette) before the gap opens so wide that they give up entirely. But try explaining personalized search results to someone who doesn’t understand an address bar.
Yes, it is rather disturbing, though it depends on how much presonalized the results will be. If Google goes too far, people will probably stop using it.
Hi. My name is Jessamyn West and I'll be your librarian today. I work in rural Vermont as a library technologist and do user support at Open Library. My personal blog is at jessamyn.com. This blog's twitter feed @librarian.net. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.