Professor Jill Hurst-Wahl posted this video on the implications of customized search on Google. Google tailors search results based on what it thinks the searcher will find the most interesting. This means
two people can search for the same topic, but receive drastically different results. I agree that there must be a balance and that the ethics of must be considered/applied. Having a search only display what it thinks the searcher will like limits the searchers access to browse information, and limits the searchers sphere of digital knowledge which has real world consequences. It was already limiting before in the sense that Google places emphasis on popularity and commercial value, not if the website will enhance the searchers comprehension of the subject. I find it fascinating and wonder how this will impact reference and research as a whole. Librarians are trained to recognize their bias, and to present access to as many valid (non-commercial, relevant) viewpoints as possible. However if this search tool, which we may utilize, is inherently and acceptably biased, how can we then still provide ethical reference services?
And of course, my second thought was this is why librarians are so much more awesome then any computer customization program. We will give the patron access to what they need. Libraries put the users’ best interest first, not commercial interests, and can provide access to all viewpoints. Customized searchers limit the searchers access to knowledge. While this can be great for a very specific search for personal pleasure, it is very limiting for browsing for research and inspiration. Librarians promote comprehension, will showcase the other view point, provide access to comprehensible resources and lead patrons/user in how to ask better in-depth questions.