War Experiments Follow-up

Nearly two weeks ago, I tried a brief experiment to test Eli Pariser’s contention from his recent book, that Google’s use of 57 signals to personalize someone’s search results leads to a filter bubble.

I also promised to include a second post with more results from readers. Below are their screenshots along with those posted on Saturday.

I also included some shameless plugs for their blogs.


Below are reflectionephemeral‘s results from the provocative and thoughtful left-leaning blog, Poison Your Mind:

Washington D.C.-based Liberal Google Search on War

Below are pino‘s results from the very entertaining, right-leaning blog, Tarheel Red:

North Carolina-based Conservative Google Search on War

Here are Bruce‘s results from the very cerebal, economics-focused, and right-leaning Brucetheeconomist’s Blog:

Oregon-based Conservative Google Search on War

Here are Vern‘s results from the often amusing and sometimes controversial, right-leaning The Rantings of Vern Rigg Kaine:

Canadian-based Conservative Google Search on War

Here are a young female’s results from her personal computer in Idaho:

Idaho Female Google Search for War on Personal Computer

Here are that same female’s results from her laptop in Idaho, which has been “corrupted” by her parents:

Idaho Female Google Search for War on Laptop

Below are my results:

Northern California Conservative Google Search on War, ©2011 Reflections of a Rational Republican

Here are my baby-boomer, liberal mother-in-law’s results:

Massachusetts Liberal Baby Boomer Google Search on War, ©2011 Reflections of a Rational Republican

Some observations:

With each permutation of this exercise, Eli Pariser’s claims appear to weaken. That is not to say his claims are false, just that the effect he writes about does not seem to appear strongly in this very small sample size of four.

Of course, now I want to read his book more than ever.

In terms of differences, reflectionsephemeral was the only participant who did not get a top ten search result of “War Games.” This result would bolster Pariser’s claim about political segmentation, were it not for the fact that my decidedly anti-war mother-in-law did receive “War Games” as a search result.

Another difference is that the band War did not appear as a top result for reflectionsephemeral, Vern, and me. My only guess is that reflectionsephemeral and I are not as strong consumers of music as perhaps my mother-in-law and pino are.

For some inexplicable reason, Vern, the only non-U.S.-based participant, got a link for World War II.


About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Business, Media, Politics, War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to War Experiments Follow-up

  1. nickgb says:

    Depending on how you meant consumer…

    reflectionephemeral is way too obsessed with music, trust me. Lived with him for years and if I never hear another Phil Spector story it’ll be too soon. Maybe Google was sick of it too and wanted an intervention?

  2. Vern R. Kaine says:

    Thanks for the shameless plug! 🙂

    As my road trip ends I’ll try a search from home and see what I get from there.

  3. “Very cerebral”! Thanks!

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