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How To Opt Out Of Google’s Personalized News Feed And Why You Should

personalized news feedAt least they’ve given us a way to opt our of their personalized news feed! It’s Google I’m talking about.

Remember when “don’t be evil” was their Motto? Sigh.

On July 19th, 2017, the implemented their personal news feed. (Actually they started this in 2009 – this iteration is scary.)

I only found out about it because I was looking for a blog topic and went to Google news to search on ‘writing.’

There is a whole new menu of stuff on the left of the Google news page.

Third from the top on my screen, for the moment at least is, the choice to “opt out of personalization”.

I clicked that and it lead to Mashable’s  Google is using your entire search history to create a personalized news feed. 

Profits before people and understanding is evil

The article quotes – well that suddenly won’t work, I’m forced to use Facebook share which screws up the page formatting here, and stops me from quoting. WTF? And it was a nice quote from Sundar Pichai’s who is some sort of high-up vice president ( yeah, I got several answers) saying this was Google’s answer to it’s filter bubble problem.

The filter bubble is, of course, the amplified effect by algorithm that means I’ll only get news on topics I’ve already searched on. Since I’m liberal in politics, taken to the extreme I’ll never see and possibly learn from conservatives. Or, since I love cats and search for clever cat videos, I’ll be less and less likely to get dog videos even though some would amuse me. The results ‘tailors’ of my past searches narrows and narrows my search view of the world.

The reason for this of course is profits. The theory is if I search on pencils today I’m more likely to buy writing instruments tomorrow. If I search on say Bernie Sanders this morning, I’m apt to be presented with progressive search results. It’s accepted, maybe even proven that presenting search results to increase sales.

I really don’t want personalized search results. If it were up to me Google and any other search company would be forced to ask me to opt-in rather than make me opt-out. Of course, they know most people will not notice the difference – I wouldn’t have right away either. And of those who do notice, many won’t be interested enough or tech savvy enough to figure out how to opt out. Can you tell I’m really miffed? Sigh

How to opt out of Google’s personalized news feed

Here are Googles instructions for opting out of personalize searches:

There are several ways to stop Google News from showing stories based on your past searches and browsing activity on Google:

 That’s from a page called Personalize your news settings. And of course it’s clear at the bottom. I suggest you do it for yourself and then teach your friends and family to do the same.

Although Google has a contact page and it even includes reporting mapping errors, I can’t find a way to complain about this. If you do, please let me know. Maybe I’ll start a petition.

Yes, I profit a bit through Google’s AdSense program. No ads in this article and I’m considering my options.

Do you agree? If not, tell us in comments… I’ve been known to be wrong.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer

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