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Digital thinking tools for better decision making
Digital thinking tools for better decision making

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2.1 Bursting the bubble

It is possible to free yourself from the filter bubble, at least to some extent. For example, you can delete your Google search history. But doing this also has a downside. In future, your search results may be less relevant to you. Similarly, you might refuse Google permission to use your location. But then if you search for retail outlets, you won’t find the local ones you were after.

Probably the simplest way to do a search that won’t be filtered by your history is to use a site such as DuckDuckGo, which is a search engine provider that claims not to track you.

Activity 5 Using DuckDuckGo

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

First, go to Google and do two or three searches that you think might be influenced by any information Google has about you. Then find the site and use it to do the same searches and see whether there is any difference.


For example, I did a search on the keyword ‘Brexit’. With Google, the three top stories found were all from The Guardian newspaper, whereas at DuckDuckGo they came from MSN News, the Daily Mail, and The Washington Post. It is hard to be sure but this suggests that the Google search is probably aware of my physical location, and may also be influenced by the fact that I often read articles on The Guardian website.

The next section looks at the dream of bringing all human knowledge together in one place and at the development of encyclopedias.