In reply to M0CGH:
(Off-topic, and long but useful I hope…)
easier to paste the link
Well there was purpose in not doing so. It follows on from the other discussions about Facebook elsewhere and the product being you. Search engines provide you a free search and they try to fund this from adverts. You search for X and adverts for X appear along with links to websites about X. (Actually adverts don’t appear on my browser, they are all choked off.) If the advert appeals you click. The advert costs money to show and as long enough people click the ad and buy something everyone is happy, advertising budget well spent etc.
The search engine companies want you to use them not anyone else. If they can target the right ads at the user you are more likely to click and someone gets a sale. So targeting is king. The problem is how to target based on the search criteria. If I search for Ford Mondeo am I looking to buy on new or secondhand or look for reviews or technical specs etc. So the search companies collect info on each user and see what they search for and what they click on. They get the info on what you click on from things like Google Analytics which loads of websites use. (Here Google gives them free analysis of where their web traffic comes from etc. of course Google get to see who clicks on the links their search provides.) So they know what you search for and what you click on and hence can better serve you ads and results. They need to know who you are and if you use Google+ or MSN live etc. then they can use those cookies when you search to know who you are. Next time you visit you provide cookies the search engine has seen before and they can continue to refine their profile on you. If you don’t use Google+ etc. you still provide sufficient info on every click to identify almost the specific browser installation. (Not IE or Firefox, but Firefox with a certain combination of plugins on a certain patch level of Windows with certain search bars installed and the fonts on your PC, enough to identify you even if your IP address changes!)
It ends up with the search results you get being different to me, something termed the search bubble. My bubble is not your bubble. Which renders searching useless because the search engines serve the links they think you want not what you may want. i.e. the links you are unlikely to click on are many pages back from the front page. There is no point sending you links you wont click on the front page and research shows most people only consider the 1st 10 or 5 links, everything else is ignored. No problem till what you want is 10 pages back and you lose the will to live in clicking through 9 pages of irrelevant junk.
Nothing exemplifies this mining the user for personal information (directly or indirectly) than two people entering the same search criteria and get different ordering in the results. Google does it, Bing does it and Facebook does it using info you have given it and the interests of your “friends” and results from all the web pages you’ve viewed that have a F icon on them. All that info about your political viewpoint, sexual viewpoint, where you spend money, what news you read, who is in your social grouping. It’s all collected and used to sell your profile to advertisers who hope you will buy from them.
You can disable the bubble on Google, there is a “VERBATIM” button which gives old style search results, not ones based on your bubble. Of course that is less useful to Google, your profile becomes worth less. Don’t forget, the search results are paid for by Google or whoever selling you to advertisers. See if you can find this button. Then click it and see how the results for searches are different.
Very long and off topic, but as I said, it shows how we are the product. It should be in the Facebook thread.
bandplans.com is the place Colin.
[gets off soapbox]