Social Searches and its effects on privacy
Millions of people all around the globe search one thing or the other on the World Wide Web. Popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing (Microsoft) generate large number of results for the keywords entered by users. Large parts of the searches include those of people and celebrities. This generally encircles around social networking giants like – Facebook, Twitter, Orkut or the newly arrived Google+. Recent trends show that the search engines are focusing more on showing search results of the social networks while compromising the original results. This indeed is a serious issue as it may unwantedly leak out private information to an unknown person who isn’t even interested in knowing him / her.
Since the integration of Google+, a user has to personalize his search options so as to lower irrelevant searches. If you search a name in Google, now it will show up the profile of the related person in Google+, along with his photos and social circles.
Some of the drawbacks of todays’ social searches are –
More focus on the social touch of the individuals
Google recently integrated Google+ in most of its searches made. It has been statistically found many times that unnecessary references are being made to the Google+ social network profiles, photos and friend circles, thus compromising original search results. Google has been giving more preference to the individuals’ ‘tweets’ than putting up the required results which may have higher priority. This wastes precious time of the individuals and may leak out private information.
The biggest problem of ‘Spam’
Individuals looking out for a specifically tailored information may get unexpected output, known as ‘spam’. Many users may get irritated and have to forcefully modify their search outputs in order to get what they require.
The world moving towards ‘cloud’ computing era
As the world is slowly shifting towards a transition where no information is kept by the client side, all information including photos, music collection may be uploaded to the servers and can be accessed anytime and anywhere. Social searches may leak out all these information to the general public, thus infringing privacy.
Connecting Advertisers with consumers
A simple step to make money through the advertising space – Social searches logs you into any social networking giant like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter etc. it takes out the information about your tastes, likes and dislikes and accordingly places suitable advertisements when a user is searching for a specific item on the search engine. This enables advertising by the brands and also lures customers to buying stuff. This all happens as we all are becoming too much internet dependent.
Social search has really integrated to be a part of our lives. But we cannot allow it to penetrate so deep into our lives that it may hamper our privacy. Cloud computing is an exciting option but we should bear security issues in mind. Selective allowance of private information and modifying search results is the perfect way to save you from the embarrassment of Social Search.
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