I also of course don't think this is FUD at all. As far as I know, this is the first quantitative study of any kind about the filter bubble. I think it is hard to dismiss a concept out of hand when it hasn't even been effectively studied yet.
Also, the filter bubble it is not an effective marketing message because it requires too much education given it is a complicated subject no one knows about.
I also think tailoring can be just fine when it is opt-in and you are in complete control of your data.
As for DuckDuckGo, we've been telling people plenty about new stuff. Most recently we've been focused on our open-source plugin platform -- DuckDuckHack, http://duckduckhack.com/ -- where you can hack the search engine. And people have been doing it and making cool stuff, e.g. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=khan+math and lots of others: https://duckduckgo.com/goodies/.
It's been more than a year now since you're writing anti-google and anti-personalized results articles. It's getting old and people love personalized results. I don't think it should be made opt-in as I think Google (and any product) should make the best option opted-in by default, and personalized results is the best option as it offers the best experience for regular users. Why would they offer a worst experience by default? It doesn't make sense. Also, most people don't know or care enough about changing options so they'd just keep the worst experience by default.
Let's take my brother's example again, if he searched for "ruby" and got results about rails and ruby.rb first before the gemstone because they are more popular than ruby the gemstone, my brother would just be confused and may even waste time clicking on the rails link first. So what should google do, propose a link that would say "opt-in to have search results that actually make sense to you". Do you see how absurd and bad UX that would be?
People who care about these kinds of things already opted-out, in fact, the most paranoid hackers I know don't even use DDG, they use Google+Thor and turn JS/cookies off. It's cool that DDG is adding more features but that's not anything I care enough to use or I could just write a quick google chrome script that'd do the same.
it seems to me that both google and ddg have problems here, ddg in not personalising at all, and google in personalising things that really shouldn't be.
I think DDG has some personalization based on your location, for example if I search "weather" it shows me the weather near me.
I don't mind it as a bit of election-related marketing, but it doesn't strike me as very rigorous.
I've been generally curious about DDG for awhile now and I'm still trying to figure out why I should make a switch. If I understand correctly; DDG is trying to solve a problem in internet search so that people can't find things easier on the internet without sacrificing knowledge about one's self or behaviors, and your organization believes that that problem is largely due to the opt-out nature (or rather how you are automatically opt-in'd to everything) of Google's platform.
I guess, I, like many others who have expressed interest, don't see the problems with this. More commonly, I can't say my mother or my boss or anyone else I know is encountering this as a problem or a challenge. I'm happy to be wrong.
I find this whole topic absolutely fascinating, especially after having recently read Nudge by Richard Thaler, which basically is a whole book which talks about the value of libertarian paternalism. In other words, how opt-out choice architecture can be much more suitable than having completely free choice. Would love to know your thoughts. Great blog, this is fascinating stuff!