The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser
|The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser|
|Category: Business and Finance|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Interesting and worrying account of the increasing personalisation of the internet. If you're a regular user you probably owe it to yourself to read this!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: June 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
In a world where websites are increasingly personalised, and your Facebook profile seems to pop up left, right and centre on sites you're visiting for the first time, there's a rapidly shrinking amount of webpages where your experience is the same as the next person's. Having always ignored Google's targetted adverts, I naively thought the actual search results produced by the site were one of the few places where I'd see the same thing as a random user in, say, Australia did. Eli Pariser shatters this myth immediately in his book as he tells us about the fifty-seven signals Google uses to build on the company's knowledge of us and choose which results to show us.
If something as basic as search results can be so different from person to person - an opening example cites two women of the same race, in close locations, with similar political and educational backgrounds, searching for BP; one gets 180 million results while the other gets 139 million, and needless to say the content varies hugely - then what about the rest of the web? In a compelling - although deeply worrying - book which packs a huge amount into its 240 or so pages without ever feeling like Pariser is lecturing readers, he talks about the issues caused by the personalisation which filters out most of the views which we're likely to disagree with. He goes on to talk about the problems which this causes and starts to offer up some solutions - which to be honest are the only part of the book which I felt was slightly weaker than the rest, being unconvincing in a couple of places.
Overall this is an easy recommendation based on the quality of Pariser's easy to read and compelling writing style and the importance of the topic to all internet users. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: If you're keen to find out more about the internet, Andrew Wheen's Dot-Dash to Dot.Com is an interesting study of the history of telecommunications. For more about one of the websites which is most linked with personalisation, The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich is fantastic!
You can read more book reviews or buy The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser at Amazon.com.
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