Comments on: Who Filters Your News? Why we built Ethan Zuckerman’s online home, since 2003 Sun, 26 Nov 2017 19:03:12 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kaleberg Sun, 26 Nov 2017 19:03:12 +0000 Gobo reminds me of an old idea I had for an anti-trust action against Google. There are two things going on in a search engine or any aggregator for that matter. There is the data collection, and there is the ranking. Right now, Google does both, but the two businesses could be split, much as the telephone business was split into local and long distance by the AT&T settlement.

Gobo does the data collection, but lets the user control the ranking in terms of user relevance. In fact, this editorial action does not need to be completely individualized. I actually prefer to see other people’s curation, and I doubt I am alone. For example, I always check both US and international versions of news pages in hopes of seeing things out of my bubble. I can’t imagine the advantage of seeing news selected because it is “relevant” to me. Odds are it wouldn’t even be news.

Something similar could be done with search engines. There could be a back end that does the collecting, cataloguing and cross indexing. Then, there could be an API for building ranking mechanisms. Right now, there is just search, but I search for many reasons. Sometimes I am shopping. Sometimes I am following up on the news. Sometimes I am doing background research. Sometimes I am trying to learn something new. Google and its competitors try to provide a mid-point setting, so they provide a mediocre result. Other organizations could do better.

I’d play with Gobo, but I still haven’t found an excuse to sign up for Facebook, Twitter or other social media. So few of my friends have accounts, and they are generally business related. Still, it sounds like a good idea. The way to make money is to push, but what people really want is to pull.