Eli Pariser, in his TED Talk, from March 2011, characterized the personalization algorithms of search engines as the new gatekeepers, replacing the gatekeeping functions of traditional publishing. In his view, search engine algorithms should take into account users' needs for options to control what comes to them as results, to opt out of personalization. Personalization can serve two possible interests: first, users' own desire to customize whatever tool they are using to best meet their search needs, and second, the intention of vendors to target their goods to user preferences. The author has long been concerned that algorithms intended to tailor search results to search needs (as determined by non-human software) are distracting developers from simply creating better search tools. Search engine users tend to look only at the first page of results. In fact, the first four or five results seem to be the limit that many searchers want to consider.
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