Mitch Joel has an excellent post entitled What You Tell a Search Box that talks about the trend to social search (such as the new Bing / Facebook search results that will factor your facebook friend’s “likes” into your search results).
Given how much we trust our friends’ recomendations, it makes a lot of sense. But the dark side to be wary about is how much info about us our searches reveal, if that info was ever made public, or disclosed even to our friends.
The entire post is worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:
Here’s a simple exercise:
Write down everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you search for online in one week. Save it in a document. After that week, go and take a look at that list. Now ask yourself the question again: do you want all of this public?
It’s the little big things.
Who cares if people know you like a local pizza joint, or that you recommend a certain coffee house? That’s fine and that’s the majority of searches, but dig a little deeper. Imagine you have just been diagnosed with MS. You haven’t told your family or boss yet. You’re looking for support, trying to figure stuff out. You definitely don’t want the insurance companies to know just yet. Would you like that public? How about this: your child is acting up in school (in this instance, your kid is the bully). You start looking online for resources and information, would you like people to know that your kid is acting up? Take any addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc…), medical issue or any other personal issue (like the odd time you watch some adult content online), and keep asking yourself if you would like all of this made public?