So: the internet is filtering what you see/get and you don't even notice

Haha. Ok.

Someone twotted:

Eli Pariser talks about Facebook, Google, and actually everyone, and how they are filtering your web.

I loved the little test he did, asking people around the world to post screenshots of their searches on Google for “Egypt”, to see how different the two are.

What would be a good search term (something simple and non-specific) to compare screenshots of? I think this would be fun. We could keep them less than 600px wide so they can just be posted in the forums.

Man, that video is depressing. Hopefully Twitter won’t ever filter stuff like that. :shifty: (Or have I already missed something?)

Great idea. How about something like “Osama” (pretty topical). I dare Google to ask “Did you mean Obama?” :lol:

Google Nederland, Firefox3 on Ubuntu, turned JS on:, Firefox on Ubuntu:

My colleague uses FF4 and Arch Linux, and Opera on Arch. His Opera got the same Dutch results as mine (with the Mr. Bean pic you can see in there), but his FF4 was different:

But we’re both on Linux… curious if a Windows + other browser is even more different. I don’t store cookies between sessions, so google has nothing on me so far as cookies from yesterday, only today.

I get similar to the Engrish version Poes.

Thissy swat I get from in Firefox (which I use mostly):



I get pretty similar (but not identical) results in in Chrome (which I rarely use)


Of course it’s going to filter your results - especially if you use to “local” version (.com vs It’s going to return what the engine things you want to see - sites from a centric point of view…

Oh, and a warning - if this thread turns political, it’s gone…

Reminds me of a Google Adsense “feature” that selects and channels ads in accordance with location and previous browsing history.

I think an interesting common search would be “book reviews” or “car reviews”.

I wonder what “Big Brother” has decided what books I should read or what car is within my income racket :slight_smile:

Of course it’s going to filter your results - especially if you use to “local” version (.com vs It’s going to return what the engine things you want to see - sites from a centric point of view…

Well since it’s forced on us unless we accept a cookie (I MUST click repeatedly on “ in English” because they broke the ability to type in GOOGLE.US (used to work, now always redirects you)).

The point isn’t LOCAL filtering, the point is it’s filtering based on you: your browser, your Operating System, and possibly stuff you’ve clicked in the past. You did see the video right?
Notice I and a colleague (who’s sitting right next to me) are both accessing (because that is unfortunately our unchosen default, cause Google ain’t never heard of, oh, travelers sitting in a hotel or anything) but he’s getting a different set of results than I am, for no apparent reason (though he allows his browsers to store cookies, so Google may be tracking him more than it tracks me).

Oh, and a warning - if this thread turns political, it’s gone…

Thanks, nobody’s even done that. I’m gone.

No I didn’t, since I don’t have a sound card here at work (I was planning on watching it later at home, though). However, I searched for the same term you did using the following:

[]IE8 - Windows XP
]Chrome 11 - Windows XP
[]Firefox 3.6.16 - Windows XP
]Chrome 11 - Fedora 13
[*]Firefox 3.6.3 - Fedora 13
[/LIST]I refreshed the results 3-4 times each screen and got exactly the same results each and everytime - no exception. Same images, same links, same “something different” suggestions, same “related search” suggestions. All exactly the same - All five operating systems, both OS (caveat - the Fedora is a virtual box so both boxes are from the same IP, though I don’t know why that would be matter…)

Not sure why my results vary from yours, but they do…

Didn’t mean it in an attacking manner, but even on an intellectual exercise, we’ve had cases where it’s taken a wrong turn because someone took the opening to make an attack on someone’s politics. I was simply trying to nip it in the bud and let an interesting conversation continue. Sorry if I offended you.

You should expect to receive different results from the different country versions of Google and also expect different results depending on whether or not you are logged into Google or not. Being logged in probably makes the biggest difference as Google uses the info it has on where you have been previously to try to put the sites it thinks will specifically interest you at the top.

Less than 20% of the web appears in the search results of any search engine so to that extent the search engines have some control over what the people who use them see because the other 80%+ of web pages will never appear in their results.

I know that using the local version of Google will offer up different results from a foreign one, but I see that as part of the original point. Why should that be? I have the option to limit searches to pages from my country if I want anyway, so why offer up different results by default? (I feel like a kid being patted on the head and told what’s appropriate for me to see.)

Besides that, it’s very hard to get on to from Australia. (You just get redirected to I had to find a url with queries in it to be able to use, which I started to do last year when mysteriously stopped working for about 3 months.

Do you use your ISP’s DNS servers, or alternate DNS servers?

TBH, I have no idea. I assume the ISP’s, as I don’t play around with that stuff, so I just use what I’m given. Not sure how I would use alternate ones.

I suspect by using a public DNS server, you wouldn’t get redirected, but I have no way of testing that since I can go straight to where I am. I can’t remember if a lookup is done on your IP address or if the DNS server makes that determination.

You can either set the DNS server addresses in your router or on your PC’s IP address settings.

I use OpenDNS, but it looks like they started wanting folks to register for an account before having access to the instructions and setup guide (although the IP addresses for the DNS servers are in the website’s footer).

Google has their own public DNS servers.

Here’s a few other public DNS servers plus some setup guides: Free Fast Public DNS Servers List

[edit]: I also stumbled across this FAQ page by google:

So do I for my home network and that takes me straight to

The computers where I work go first to but there’s a link on the page to take you to if you want to use that instead

OMG, I’ve never noticed that before. :blush:

I will have to investigate OpenDNS. Thanks for the tips guys.

EDIT: Hmm, I go a bit wobbly when topics like DNS come up, because whenever I try to learn more about that stuff, I quickly find myself reading through meaningless geek jargon. Looking at the OpenDNS site, it has all kinds of pages to help you “sign up”, but I don’t see any clear explanation of what it’s really for, or how it differs from what I do now, or why I’d need it. Sure, it says “you’ll be safer online” etc., but why? The concept isn’t explained. That’s where so many businesses fail miserably online.

Some info: OpenDNS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basically, a DNS server is responsible for DNS lookups which translate domain names to IP addresses.

Sometimes, they come with additional services, which may or may not actually be useful.

Sometimes, ISP DNS servers can get bogged down or can be generally slow, so there is sometimes a speed advantage to using an alternate DNS server.

Alternate DNS servers can generally be more anonymous in that DNS lookups aren’t tied to your ISP’s account. So, the ISP has a more difficult time determining what websites you’re visiting.

As for additional services, DNS servers can check domains for typos and autocorrect accordingly in some instances. They can also block domains/IPs which cause problems or spew malware. Generally, these additional services are more complete and have more configurable options with alternate DNS services since that is the only thing they focus on; unlike with ISPs.

Thanks for the link and explanation, Force Flow. I appreciate your efforts to enlighten me, though I admit they are not enough to draw me out of my catatonic ignorance on this matter. The wiki article (or advertisement?) still doesn’t provide any conceptual framework for understanding what their service does in practice or indeed what normally happens when using one’s own ISP. TBH, I just type in addresses to my address bar; and how the browser ends up finding receiving the site I have no idea, beyond knowing that the url has been sent out into cyberspace, some computer somewhere has translated that into an IP address and located the computer where the site’s files are stored, which has sent back the required info. What role my ISP has in this, or what it would mean in terms of my ISP account to use OpenDNS instead, doesn’t seem to be explained at all. I think I need one of those kiddie pictures with big fat arrows. (:

All I did to start using OpenDNS was to put their IP addresses into the appropriate place. I didn’t even realise that there was anything more to it until reading this thread.

Since the only reason I am using their IP addresses is that they tend to update for domain moves faster than other DNS, I don’t think I’ll bother setting up an account.

Are you talking about placing it in your router? I don’t remember ever setting an IP address anywhere, but maybe I just don’t remember.