03 June 2013

Who said you can tell me what I want?

I was on the search for a new book. I remembered someone had recommended a website for books based on setting and wanted to find it again. I was on a different computer and I couldn't get it to come up.

Then I was on the train coming back from Madrid and in my usual way I'm always jealous of the people commuting who have reading material. I decided to search for my next book on my phone.

I did a search for books by location since I couldn't remember the name of the website and I found this very interesting library mystery list based on locations in the world. (Murder in Far Away Places.) Well, I got interrupted talking on the train, so I didn't finish my perusal of the list.

When I got home on the computer I decided to find that library website and finish looking, but when I did the exact same search, nothing like that came up. In fact the original website I'd seen months ago came up. It definitely is worth a look if you're trying to find a look by location. It has a mystery category but also has books in general by their setting. Books set in

What I find so interesting about this is that on different devices doing the exact same search on Google is resulting in different list. Drastically different. I knew that push marketing and algorithms were at work when I searched, but I always assumed they were somehow pushing the real things I was looking for. After this experience, I have lost faith in Google and push marketing in general. It must be working for them. For me, I know I've seen things that interested me in the side bar push marketing way, but rarely have I bought from there.

When a search has the top color bar of people who have paid to come up first, I avoid those sites unless I'm totally not finding my desires in the list that I assumed were more organic choices below. Now I'm not really sure about any of it.

The same search - a different device - and I couldn't get the same page to come up. Who made you Google or anyone else for that matter the keeper of what I really want or what I'm really looking for? I know in theory they are trying to help me find things faster, but it's disturbing.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if one was a general search and one was a search tailored to you. If you're logged into Google (Gmail, Google+, Blogger, or whatever) that's when your searches are logged and used to influence later searches.

    Also, it's possible the search is in your history (http://www.google.com/history).