With all this talk of personalization and delivering content based on your preferences – I can’t help but consider the consequences.

I (and apparently a small minority of others) agree with Graywolf – I don’t want Google to make assumptions about me, who I am, or what I will like. I want to be exposed to new things, ideas, points of view, etc. Personalization, while great in theory, is not optimal in creating a diverse and open-minded society.

For example, if all you read are ultra conservative blogs (or conversely ultra liberal blogs) – does that mean Google will just keep serving you the same slant in your search results, thereby perpetuating your narrow minded world view and pigeonholing you into your own ignorant bliss? I understand there are many benefits to personalization. But consider the side effects.

So how will Google decide what to personalize? Will people’s “votes” for SERPS bring those into prominence for the rest? I’m a bit disturbed by the monster that Wikipedia has created – the “vote for truth” side effect. I’m even more disturbed that people casually accept the premise that no matter how unqualified the voters, majority rule determines what deserves to be considered truth (and consequenty what deserves to be seen).

Here’s an example: the most vocal part of the Digg community perpetuates ignorance of search engine optimization and unfairly labels SEO’s as crooks. What if instead of SEO’s it was another group of people – say Muslims? And if you apply this behavior to an algorithm, will it basically perpetuate the often narrow world view of whaterver “group” you end up being associated with?

Maybe I’m not fully understanding what personalization really entails – maybe someone will educate me on the intricacies of the process. In my personal experience I haven’t liked “personalized” anything – whether it’s Amazon telling me I should check out this book or Pandora telling me that I’ll like this song – the results have neverĀ  overly impressed me. I more often than not resent being associated and pigeonholed into a stereotype some computer in some part of the world has algorythmically given me.