Tag Archive for: Google

We live in a world where everything you can think of, can be found on the Internet. It should come as no surprise this had led to a problem, also known as the rabbit hole problem. There is so much content available, that the consumer gets lost in it. That’s why companies had to come up with a solution which is known today as personalized marketing. By using cookies for example, companies can follow your browsing behaviour and use this to present you with personalized offerings and content. Personalized marketing is essential for companies to ensure that consumers will keep coming back.

The Filter Bubble

A consequence of personalization is something that’s called the ‘filter bubble’, introduced by Eli Pariser. The filter bubble is an invisible algorithm that selectively guesses what information someone would like to see based on the search history of the user. Common examples are Google’s search results and Facebook’s news feed. What happens is that users don’t get to see the information that disagrees with their viewpoint and thus isolating them in their ideological information bubbles. But what determines what you get to see? You can think of clicks, viewing friends, likes on Facebook, reading news stories and so on.

The Downside of Personalization

Personalization may be helpful for online shopping, but it could have negative implications for the discourse in society because it closes us off to new ideas, people with other backgrounds, and opinions but also other crucial information. We don’t challenge our beliefs anymore and become blind to other perspectives. It thus creates the impression that our narrow view of the world is all that there is. As Pariser said, “too much candy and not enough carrots”.

Hitting the Psychological Jackpot

However, the filter bubble can not only be explained by online algorithms, but also by a persistent psychological driver: the confirmation bias. This is the tendency to search, interpret and recall information in a way that confirms our pre-existing beliefs or assumptions, while giving less attention to alternative information. This effect is stronger for emotional issues and personal beliefs. It can be explained by wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. The result is overconfidence in your own beliefs and poor decisions due to this bias. The filter bubble not only seems to be the problem, we ourselves contribute to it as well.

It is debated whether personalized filtering is actually happening and if it is, to what extent? But it is definitely something we shouldn’t put aside without giving it some thought. Be aware of the fact that what you see on Google might be something different than what someone else sees. If you are looking for a good movie to watch on Netflix, it is a good thing that they already know what you like, but there might be more to it. What do you think, is personalization beneficial or harmful?

The filter bubble is likely having an impact on important decisions in your personal life. Decisions such as the way in which you have informed yourself about the upcoming elections. A relevant question to ask yourself – is it possible that the filter bubble has affected your vote for the elections?

Written by Jasmijn van Veggel

This time of the year, you might be thinking about the most important things that happened in your life. At Google’s headquarters, it was also time for reflection, they released the overview of 2015’s most searched queries. The news surrounding Charlie Hebdo in January and the second shootings in Paris in November are the most searched subjects worldwide. Next to these impressive media events, people were also very curious about Caitlyn Jenner’s speech at the ESPYs and “The Dress” (was it blue and black? Or was it white and gold?).

Screenshot 2015-12-20 11.41.23

When you click the image above and hover your mouse over each circle on the timeline it reveals the topic it represents, how many searches it had in 2015 and when that topic peaked. According to Wired, Google created a remarkably comprehensive package, out of trillions of queries. And there’s more! If you have some time to spare during your christmas holidays, take a look around the Google Trends page and discover for example what the Dutch have been searching for in 2015 (Boer Zoekt Vrouw is number 2 top searched, yes really!!)


Google has been presenting the year in search queries for over 15 years now. However, this year it is better than ever because the job had been turned over to a whole new department: the Google News Lab. In the Google News Lab, data crunching has been taken to the next level. Their goal is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to help build the future of media.


Google’s goal is to provide tools, data, and programs designed to help entrepreneurs and journalists to use Google’s (search) data in the most efficient way. The tools that are already available are pretty awesome. Although the tools are not directly aimed at marketeers, just imagine for a moment which possibilities these tools could provide for us. You will have immediate insights in the popularity of your product and what people are curious about. Personally, I think the Google News Lab offers many promising insights for marketeers and is something to keep in mind for next year. Do you know any other cool initiatives we should watch out for in 2016?


Written by Marjolein Tromp