If I was to ask you which search engine you use every day or which search engine you use when you are sourcing, I am quite confident that your answer would be Google. Am I right?
Google is a great search engine, but, as I mentioned in my book, in the chapter titled “Google: Candidates and Different Locations,” when you search on Google, the results are different based on your current location. For example, if you would like to see the same results as a person in London but you are located in Berlin, you will need to be physically in London or use VPN services to change your IP address to see the same results as the person from London.
Google and other search engines are delivering results based on what they know about you rather than giving you equal access to the Internet. In essence, you become trapped in a “filter bubble.” Some people call this filter bubble personalization; some call it censorship.
Eli Pariser brought the term “filter bubble” into public awareness with his TED talk in 2011. Eli Pariser is also the author of The Filter Bubble, about how a personalized search might narrow our worldview. He described how companies are using personalization to shape our online world and how they are influencing what we are going to notice.
When we are searching for something else, algorithms continue to give us more and more of the things we engaged. All of that is just based on the assumption that we engaged with these things because we enjoyed them or agreed with them. This assumption is the foundation stone of every filter bubble. And search engines are showing us things they think we would like to see instead of all data that could be relevant for us so we can create our options.
When you are sourcing for a candidate, the more searches on Google you are doing, the more personalized your next results will be. And the results you sometimes need to see or are looking for are on the Google page that you are not going to open because they are on page 10. And they are on that page just because Google decided to show the personalized results.
With every search, you are slowly building your sourcing filter bubble.
Burst the Filter Bubble
You have two options for bursting your filter bubble.
First option: You can use other engines like Bing, but if you would like to use Google results you can try a search engine like DuckDuckGo (duckduckgo.com). It is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.
Second option: You can try another one of the various metasearch engines that you can find on the internet.
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A metasearch engine (or aggregator) is a search tool that uses another search engine’s data to produce its results. This will help you to burst the filter bubble and get results that were hidden from you because of the personalization.
My two favorite metasearch engines are https://www.startpage.com and https://www.etools.ch. Both are great for their privacy options. I prefer etools.ch, which shows results from 16 search engines and allows you to target results from various countries with one simple click.
You can also check other metasearch search engines that are available.
I am not saying that Google is bad or the personalization is bad either. For me, Google is still the best free sourcing tool we have as sourcers. I strongly believe that it is important for us to understand that the new personalized web is changing what we read and how we think. The personalization also affects how we see the world.
Google began customizing its search results for all users in December 2009 and since we have all entered a new era of personalization. It brought some benefits but also some negatives. If you are ready to burst your filter bubble try a search engine like startpage.com or duckduckgo.com.
I know that old habits die hard, but from time to time, try to use one of these metasearch engines to expand your search and discover new sources that are hidden from you because of your personalized results.
Only you can decide whether to burst your filter bubble or stay inside of it. Good luck!