Close only counts in horseshoes (and hand grenades).

The Free dictionary

I think that the first time I’d heard that idiom was in a mathematics classroom at secondary school. I think I remember the teacher I could attribute it to but I’m not sure. If it was on the internet, I could probably search for it and find it.

Even finding this quote didn’t mean that I had to know everything. Like so many people, I suspect, I can start with a subset of what I really want to know and let my search engine take it and run with it to give me answers (and alternatives).

I was stopped in my tracks this morning when I read this story from Reuters

China requires Microsoft’s Bing to suspend auto-suggest feature

There were two things.

  • Bing is the only major search engine available in China? An interesting summary of what’s available in China is here
  • can you imagine a search engine limited by the ability to not auto-suggest?

I’ll admit that I use auto-suggest all the time. Most commonly, it’s to determine the correct spelling of a word that I was to use or the ability to find a word that I think I know. On a serious bent, auto-suggest can take me in slightly or completely different directions based on a theme.

I think that we could all come up with reasons why auto-suggest might be considered dangerous at this time. While you might go looking for truthful news, you might just find something completely different.

There’s also privacy / bias concerns if you’re actually logged in to the search engine. Artificial intelligence can be used to give you “better” results based on what the search engine knows about you. I’ve always been a fan of a search engine that doesn’t use these techniques so that I think I get as unbiased results as I can.

I suspect that all of us take these features and access to all the information that is out there and just a search result or auto-suggest search away. It’s become just the way that we do business. Imagine waking up and finding that it’s all gone away.

OTR Links 03/22/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.