I was invited by Emily Stewart to pass along the below article on the Hidden Costs of Google to my audience. After reading the article I thought the importance of this information was profound. I say that because with the ability to “google” any animal health or behavior related question on the internet the room for misdiagnosis is incredibly high. Google is allowing people to become their own practitioner to a large degree. Unless you are speaking directly with your animal, even going to a veterinarian can be a waste of time and money. I see a breakdown on two levels by seeking professional advice from internet searches. 1) You are not getting the educated recommendations for treatment from a qualified professional and 2) You are not directing your initial questions to the one being that is mot important, your animal.
The Hidden Costs of Google in actuality could be the life of your furkid! Not getting the proper and correct treatment early can cost your animal their life.
Guest post courtesy of Emily Stewart. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily represent the views of Val Heart & Heart Communication Enterprises Inc.
Google is the giant of online search, period. If you bothered to prove it by comparing search market share, advertising revenue, user data collection or brand recognition, Bing, Yahoo and Ask wouldn’t even come close. And as with any near-monopoly, Google’s unchallenged reach has its downside. One major hazard is obvious–super simplified search turns us into false, but confident experts.
The truth is, no one but Google really understands how its algorithms index and return search results and no one but Google knows how accurate the results for any given search term really are. Few people consider Google search a logical alternative to consulting a financial adviser before refinancing a mortgage. But when it comes to our health, we’re more convinced that we can google our way to the truth (or nearer to it). Let’s say you’ve got a headache. Visit a medical professional and they will tell you that the chances that it’s caused by a tumor are right around 0.002%. Google “headache” and 25% of your medical diagnosis results will discuss tumors.
Disproportionately represented “tumor related headache” results may cause disproportionate panic, but at least they get us to the doctor. What’s more troubling is the number of consumers that have followed ads or search results to sites promoting unproven fad diets or risky at-home health treatments.
The ways in which Google has revolutionized and personalized the web experience are obvious. We love and need to google. But, at what cost? This technology feels intuitive because it is creepily intuitive. It notes what we read and what we don’t, what we buy and what we don’t and ultimately delivers more market-targeted results faster. If you click straight through to the “headache as tumor symptom” results, you may just start to see more like it.
If you’re interested in learning more about the net impact of Google’s search model, check out the latest video in our Hidden Costs series.
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