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Library Tutorial for JOBDev 100

How Search Works

How is information provided?  (Let’s talk about Google!)

For most of us, the first stop when trying to find information is an internet search engine - whether for personal and/or academic purposes. Google is just one example of a popular search engine. Google averages about 3.5 billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion searches a year worldwide (Internet Live Stats.org).

Since many people use Google (especially in the United States) on a daily basis to find the information they need quickly, it is important to think critically about how Google actually works. How does the Google search engine come up with the search results for a particular search? How are these search results set up?

1. WATCH: 5 minute video featuring employees from Google and Bing discussing how search engines work.

2. WATCH: 4 minute video featuring researcher Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble discussing how search engines work. As you watch, take notes about what you learn from the video.

Keep in mind that much of her research took place several years ago, and the search results you see might not be exactly like hers.

For an update on the changes Google has made in response to Dr. Noble’s research read this March 16 2018 article she wrote for Time Magazine.

3. ASK YOURSELF: 

What did you think about both of the Critical Internet Searching videos? Did they change your opinion about Google or teach you something new about searching online?

What strategies can we use to find the best information, now that we know how search algorithms work?

Do for-profit companies like Google have too much influence over how people receive information? Why or why not?