Technology

Google News has a new feature that may just pop your filter bubble

Announced last week Google I / O keynote, the application Google Google News officially landed today iOS .

The application, which replaces the Google Play newspaper on iOS devices, is excellent. It relies heavily on the superb Google AI to surface the stories you care about most, whether in your garden or around the world.

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But this is not the AI ​​that I find most convincing. Instead, it may be the feature of the application that takes an old school approach by completely abandoning the algorithms.

This is what is called "Full Coverage".

Full Coverage removes algorithmic sorting and opens your mind to opposing points of view. With the click of a button, Google displays dozens of concurrent takes, voices and sources for the same story. For Google, it's just what it does best: index everything. But whether intentional or not, total coverage is the antithesis of the way most of us consume news.

Take Facebook. When you scroll down the Newsfeed, we are shown news from people who tend to like the same things as us. Then there are our friends and family, who probably share a similar worldview. This type of algorithmic sorting has led to a cleavage unlike anything we have ever seen, and all because the algorithms filter information according to what they think we are most likely to engage.

As the algorithms become more advanced, the number of voices we pay attention to begins to decline. Where the web was once a very open experience in freedom of expression, this algorithmic iteration invites us to stay where we are most comfortable. And it is reached, most often, by closing the voices we are ideologically opposed to hearing.

Or, to put it another way, that's why the algorithms deliver stories of Mother Jones and the New York Times more often (to liberals) than those reported by The National Review or Christian Science Monitor on Apple News or Facebook Newsfeed. ]

Full coverage eliminates bias by removing algorithms that allow it.

Google took a strong left here. Although Google News still relies on algorithms to organize the content you are interested in, it completely abandons the algorithmic approach once you have clicked the Full Coverage icon. From there, you are free to browse topics of interest without the algorithmic censor.

Even better, you'll see sources that you usually read between opposing points of view, a chronology of events, social media publications, and even stories of small publications with which you may not be familiar. unfamiliar.

Not to sound overly optimistic, but it's the kind of contrarian thinking that could just save us all from our bubbles. After all, we can live there but they were not entirely born of our desire to lock ourselves in our peers. This is a problem exacerbated by the algorithms, and that seems correct once we agree to disable them – at least on the occasion.

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