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Google’s Fight against Spam gets Dangerous

Google’s Fight against Spam gets Dangerous
In its struggles to root out low-quality web pages and sites from its search results, Google has begun to resort to its own users in an attempt to fight spam online.

The search engine giant has recently released an extension for its Google Chrome browser, which allows users to block certain sites in Google’s search result by simply clicking on a block button. The main idea behind this is that if a user comes across a particular low-quality site through Google, he or she can inform Google about this site by blocking it, and the site won’t show up again.

When quite a sufficient amount of users block a single site, Google will finally deduce that the site in question is really a low-quality site and will permanently remove it from the search results. And as good a solution as this may be to root out low-quality websites; it can also have an unexpected side effect. It could lead to users indulging in highly biased opinions with regards to sites. This in turn transforms Google from an unbiased information retrieval platform to a personalized portal that shows you only the type of information that you want to see.

And this could be potentially dangerous as it undermines the biggest strength of the Internet - exposure to all sorts of ideas and information that you might never have known existed and that you may not agree with. One of the biggest benefits that the Internet has brought for us today is its vast cache of information, different views and its different opinions. The Internet enables a constant flow of conversation or a constant exchange of ideas between users, causing a greater understanding of facts.

However, this new feature separates users from this global conversation and only exposes them to ideas that they think are right. This could lead to persisting misinformation.