TrustSearch: Could Major Search Engines Do it Better?
It’s no secret that major tech industry players often subsume or outright clone popular or promising features or apps from innovators.
Facebook, for example, has made several multi-billion dollar advances on popular social media app Snapchat, with Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel declining offers of up to $3 billion from Facebook since 2013. Undeterred, Facebook subsequently launched two Snapchat clones — Slingshot and Bolt — before settling on the launch of Instagram and Facebook “story” features that duplicate Snapchat’s feature set.
Facebook’s Snapchat feature emulation has had an observable impact on Snapchat’s user base. Subsequent to Facebook’s “story” feature launch in March 2017, Snapchat experienced a major drop in user activity that was reflected in a 21 percent drop in Snapchat share valuation.
With Snapchat predicted to lose over 10 million users by 2020 while Facebook-owned Instagram is expected to capture over 19 million more in the same time frame, it’s clear that industry giants aren’t afraid to clone and integrate disruptive technology.
Unlike many others search engines like Bing, Yahoo or even Qwant who merely copy Google, TrustSearch is uniquely positioned to dramatically change the way trust is communicated, assessed, and presented online. One of the most common questions directed toward innovative platforms such as TrustUnion and TrustSearch is:
“What stops the most powerful technology companies from taking your idea and developing it better?”
TrustSearch is built on a technological and philosophical framework that doesn’t directly compete with major search engines. Instead, TrustSearch is a complementary tool that reshapes the online and offline trust ecosystem.
10 Reasons Why TrustSearch is More Trustworthy and Legitimate Than the Most Powerful Technology Companies
- Trust-Based Search Results: Goodbye SEO
- TrustSearch is Relevant and Unique for Each User
- TrustSearch is Truly Neutral
- Multi-source — No “Walled Garden”
- Community-Elected Ethics Governance
- Guaranteed Data Deletion — For Real
- Anonymity By Design
- All the Trust Information You Need in a Single Click
- TrustSearch Gives Users Control Over Data Visibility
- TrustSearch Bridges the Gap Between Digital and Real-World Trust
1. Trust-Based Search Results: Goodbye SEO
Contemporary search engines rely on a broad spectrum of factors in order to rank sites presented within search results. Google, for example, relies on search query meaning, relevance, usability, and “quality of content”.
Sites and platforms that are referenced by other prominent sites are more likely to be presented to search engine users first, creating an ecosystem that focuses on search engine optimization, not trust. Search engine optimization is an $80 billion dollar industry focused solely on manipulating the algorithms that drive search results in order to place products and services in front of consumers.
It’s not possible to alter TrustSearch results through creative SEO techniques.
TrustSearch results are based on trust alone, creating an ecosystem in which businesses must reinvent themselves around trust.
TrustSearch allows businesses to forget about search engine optimization and focus on trust optimization, building stronger relationships with existing customers while forging new trust with a wider consumer spectrum.
2. TrustSearch is Relevant and Unique for Each User
Performing a web search doesn’t always yield the results you’re looking for. Major search engines do provide users with a degree of personalization in search results, such as localized results and in some cases recommendations based on user history, but fail to take into account the potential trust relationship between users and the products, services, or platforms they search for.
The personalization present in popular searches typically takes the form of pre-selection. Their algorthmic pre-selected personalization in Google search results can, in many cases, reduce the amount of information available to search users. Data published in the Journal on Internet Regulation in a 2016 study reveals that 11.7 percent of Google search results are pre-selected. These pre-selected search results creates a “filter bubble” that restricts the total amount of information available to a user and potentially contribute toward biased or limited positions on a particular subject or search.
Rather than focus on delivering results based on algorithmic interpretations of the browsing habits or preferences of a user, Transitive Trust is tightly focused on providing users with an accurate interpretation of the potential trust between entities.
TrustSearch integrates a Transitive Trust element that provides users with a tool that assesses the level of trust between individuals or businesses.
TrustSearch’s Transitive Trust element is a weighted, personalized representation of the potential trust between two profiles.
A TrustSearch performing a search for an auto mechanic in their local area, for example, will receive results that incorporate this Transitive Trust feature. A mechanic that has already been trusted by other users that are part of the user’s personal Trust network will have a higher potential transitive trust relationship with the same mechanic.
Unlike current major search engines, TrustSearch results will be completely different for each user when logged in — two users searching for the same business or person, for example, will never receive the same results. By delivering personalized and actionable search result data, TrustSearch provides users with more relevant information when compared to “traditional” search engines.
3. TrustSearch is Truly Neutral
TrustSearch isn’t designed to compete directly with major search platforms. Instead, TrustSearch exists as a neutral, autonomous tool that provides users with the ability to measure and assess trust.
Neutrality is critical to TrustSearch — TrustSearch doesn’t have an internal sales system, nor does TrustSearch provide a sales model that affects the integrity of search results.
Similarly, TrustSearch uses a neutral approach when collecting trust data from different marketplaces, social media platforms, and sharing economy apps.
The presentation of search results data on Google, for example, often includes Google Smart Shopping results. While these results are clearly labeled as “sponsored”, they’re often the first results presented to users when searching for specific products or services. Google allows businesses to pay to appear before consumers first though paid advertising options. While Google does assess the authority and relevance of sites in order to minimize the visibility of misleading sites, sites aren’t assessed on a specific “trustworthiness” basis.
TrustSearch, in contrast, does not allow users or businesses to alter the way that their trust data is presented in TrustSearch results. TrustSearch Doesn’t have its own sales system — when you see TrustSearch results, you’re seeing neutral results based on an assessment of how trustworthy a site, business, or platform is.
4. Multi-source — No “Walled Garden”
Major online platforms generally aim to trap users within a closed ecosystem in which the entire value chain including payment, advertising, and data are controlled by the platform itself. Apple’s iOS ecosystem is an example of a “walled garden” ecosystem. By controlling app publishing and payment execution, Apple retains full control over the entire iOS ecosystem.
Walled garden models allow Google, Facebook, and Amazon to control over 90 percent of all online advertising and search result data online, establishing a tech oligarchy that forces users to rely on these platforms for trust data.
Closed digital ecosystems don’t only stifle innovation — they also restrict the transparency and availability of trust data and the decisions users make based on it.
TrustSearch, however, does the opposite. Rather than rejecting external platforms and third-party services, TrustSearch embraces them. By collecting as much trust data as possible about any given user or business from multiple sources, TrustSearch breaks open walled garden ecosystem and delivers unrestricted access to trust in a manner that complements existing search engines, giving access to trust, creating trust, and making new trust-based relationships possible.
5. Community-Elected Ethics Governance
TrustSearch is committed to ensuring that both user and business data is managed in an ethical manner. Contemporary search platforms follow a less-than-transparent approach to ethics governance and assurance.
Google, for example, established an independent ethics board in March 2016 in order to ensure that the tech giant followed an ethical approach to development and data management — only to shut it down two weeks later.
TrustSearch is held accountable by TrustSearch community members, with governance decisions voted on by members elected by the community.
Each TrustSearch user is able to participate in the governance of the TrustSearch platform — governance is open to everybody, and everybody can have a say in how TrustSearch is run.
Incumbent tech giants are inherently centralized — TrustSearch decentralizes ethics governance, placing power back in the hands of users themselves.
6. Guaranteed Data Deletion — For Real
TrustSearch provides users with the option to delete their data permanently. Current market leaders tracks a vast amount of user data, from location data, viewed content, apps, browsers, and devices you use, the photos and videos you save, and even the emails you receive and send.
When you choose to delete your data, however, there are a number of conditions that ensure Google is able to retain your personal data — often for an extended period of time. While it’s possible to request that major search providers delete your data, there’s no guarantee that they will.
TrustSearch users are able to request complete data removal at any time from TrustSearch, which will result in an immediate, comprehensive, and permanent deletion of all personal data in accordance with the TrustSearch Data Fair Act.
7. Anonymity By Design
Big data is big business. The big data and business analytics industry is anticipated to exceed $189 billion by 2020 — major search engines capitalize on massive amounts of user-generated data in order to create tailored ads and personalized ad solutions, often at the cost of personal privacy.
PrivSec insights reveal that “big data” often includes personal data. In many cases it’s impossible to separate personal data from non-personal data. Many major platforms actively access and leverage personal data in order to create personalized ads — Google, for example, was accessing and scanning Gmail user emails in order to create targeted ads as late as 2017 .
The collection of big data can have a positive impact on user experiences. When used responsibly and carefully, big data collection can help streamline experiences, improve the functionality and effectiveness of search platforms, and deliver far more accurate results.
TrustSearch ensures that all big data sets collected by the platform are sanitized of personal data, allowing TrustSearch to improve without needing to know who data belongs to.
Importantly, TrustSearch doesn’t share search data with the big data industry. All data collected by TrustSearch is anonymized by design, respecting the confidentiality of the TrustSearch user base. TrustSearch does use the data it collects, but never sells, shares, or makes available personal information to data aggregation companies for a fee.
8. All the Trust Information You Need in a Single Click
TrustSearch is focused on providing users with the ability to view all relevant trust information regarding a specific individual, company, or business in a single location.
A traditional search engine allows users to perform searches that contain modifiers relating to trustworthiness, such as searching for the reviews of a product. The process of searching for reviews and user experiences forces users to spend a significant amount of time sorting through and assessing disparate sources of trust information.
TrustSearch, in contrast, aggregates a broad spectrum of trust information sources into a single platform and allows users to view the aggregated TrustScore of an individual or business at a glance.
9. TrustSearch Gives Users Control Over Data Visibility
Navigating the various privacy settings associated with publicly available information can be complicated with current leader’s platforms.
Pew Research data reveals that restricting publicly visible information is extremely important to Internet users around the world — 86 percent of Internet users take steps to minimize their online footprint, with a further 74 percent placing a high importance on remaining in control over the information that is available about them online.
Managing your public information isn’t simple, however — search platforms aggregate data from data brokers such as Spokeo, Whitepages, and PeopleFinder, making it difficult to hide or remove personal information when it’s published online.
TrustSearch allows users to verify their online personal details and make them available or unavailable. TrustSearch users are able to provide other users with verified social media accounts, contact information, or phone numbers, or restrict their availability at will. By streamlining the management of trusted information, TrustSearch makes identity management and the secure distribution of personal details simple.
10. TrustSearch Bridges the Gap Between Digital and Real-World Trust
Most of search engines exist in order to provide users with the ability to find what they’re looking for on the Internet — online.
In contrast, TrustSearch is designed to provide users with the ability to measure trust, both online and in real life.
The applications of TrustSearch extend beyond the digital realm and into daily interactions. When deciding to enter into a business agreement, hire a new employee, or trust a babysitter with your children, trust is critical.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to capture an accurate assessment of the trustworthiness of an individual at a glance via the current popular platforms.
TrustSearch profiles, however, allow users to quickly search for and connect with people in real life in seconds, forging new trust-based relationships outside of cyberspace.
TrustSearch is Focused on Trust — Not Search Results or Data
TrustSearch isn’t designed to replace traditional search engines — TrustSearch works alongside them, collecting trust information and creating a new layer between real-world and digital trust. By redefining and quantifying trust, TrustSearch provides users with a tool that can be used to enhance trust in all relationships, online and offline.