This fall, I didn’t recognize the ways that a search history can be harmful. Even if a site means to be polite, it can still cause problems.
One problem is that you could end up in a filter bubble. Inside the bubble, you see things you already knew. You can enter an echo chamber where you hear what you already believe.
So, I decided: Let’s get out of my Google filter bubble. It wasn’t easy (which didn’t surprise me) but I got it done in Firefox.
I blocked all Google and YouTube cookies as well as their saved login information.
My goal was narrow. I didn’t want to improve privacy around Google. There are better tools for that. I just wanted to eliminate Google’s awareness of who I am. I did my best to not affect other services unnecessarily.
Some consequences that I know about:
- You can’t read Gmail.
- You can’t turn on SafeSearch in Google Images.
- You can’t leave comments or thumb videos on YouTube.
- You can’t use Watch Later in YouTube.
- You have no history in YouTube.
- Google Books lets you view extremely little of books (less than 5 pages).
- You get the same ad links over and over.
I did some more investigation about the content of search results but I’ll explore that later.