After watching this video, having a couple thought-provoking conversations with Library School friends and classmates, I have decided to do a little experiment.

A friend was telling me about alternatives to Google for day-to-day Internet searches. And he said he actually used them. Not only did he use them, but he used them enough to have opinions about which ones are good. As a Library School student, I feel I have a responsibility to learn about the different search tools out there. So I decided to check out one of the ones he told me about, DuckDuckGo. It seemed like a pretty good search engine, so I decided to play around with it a bit.

After about a day of using the search engine for my searching needs, I found myself jonesing for some Google back in my Internet search life. Not because it gives better results. Not because it’s more user friendly. Not because I have some brand loyalty to Google (though I recently discovered what a beautiful man Sergey Brin is–seriously, he has almost god-like good looks). Not for any good reason. I was jonesing for Google because I am a Google addict, living in a culture of Google addicts.

At first, my goal in seeking out other search engines was not to “dump” Google, but to learn about what else is out there–to “see other people”, or other search engines, if you will. But I quickly learned that that just wouldn’t work. I need some Google sobriety in my life–I need to break up with Google, or at least take a break, otherwise I will keep crawling back to Google, never actually learn about any other programs and I will stay in my little filter bubble forever.

So I’ve decided that I’m not going to use Google’s search engine anymore. I even removed it from my add-ons for Firefox so I won’t feel tempted or relapse out of sheer habit. While I do want to distance myself from using Google programs whenever possible (part of why I actually chose to start my blog on WordPress, not Blogger), I am not boycotting Google (and I don’t feel any desire or drive to do so–I don’t hate Google, I just don’t want to continue buy into the idea that they are the best and only game in town). So I’m only breaking up with their search engine, while trying to gain a little distance from the brand. I do, however, like my Gmail account. Not just because it’s easier to stay together than break up (which it is), but because other email servers I have used have not been as effective in helping me organize my communication as Gmail has.

Maybe I should pay Bradley from $10 to break up with Google for me. According to the site, as well as basic social awareness, paying a stranger to break up with your ex is a great way to burn a bridge, if that’s what you’re going for.

UPDATE (6/26/11):

This illustrated guide does a great job of explaining filter bubbles and DuckDuckGo as one way to escape them!



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