Personalized Search and My Niece

My niece who is really a wonderful sweet little girl, has a very small menu of acceptable foods. She will eat cheerios, pancakes, or eggs (scrambled only) for breakfast. For lunch and dinner the list of acceptable foods includes mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, steak, hot dogs, French fries and one or two other things that escape me at the present moment. However when you come to my house for dinner you are exposed to a wide variety of foods. For example the rice and grains in my pantry right now are cous cous, risotto, quinoa, basmati, and jasmine.

So what does the eating habits of children have to do with personalized search? Well if the big three Google, Yahoo, and MSN have their way you’ll all end up like my niece, getting only what you want and never experiencing diversity or relishing the feeling of serendipitous joy. Instead of ordering something from a menu and discovering something new like bacon polenta you’ll be stuck with the same foods week after week. Personalized search will use your own individual zeitgeist to determine which sites you are clicking on and try to give you more of the same. Sorry Goolge you can keep your chicken nuggets and French fries, I’d much rather have chicken strips breaded with Doritos cool ranch and sweet potato fries anyday.

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