When searching for information for the first time, many of us tend to use Internet search engines to find the information we need--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?
Watch the video below which features employees from Google and Bing discussing how search engines work. As you watch, take notes to prepare for your discussion post.
Watch the video below which features researcher Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble discussing how search engines work. As you watch, take notes to prepare for your discussion post.
Keep in mind that much of her research took place several years ago. For an update on the changes Google has made in response to Dr. Noble’s research read this March 16, 2018 article (Links to an external site.) she wrote for Time Magazine.
The biases found in search results are just one example of how the business interests of for-profit companies like Google can affect the information they provide to us and the way in which that information is provided.
Other for-profit information companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, CNN, Amazon, and YouTube use strategies such as advertising, placement of products, and search algorithms to intentionally affect the information we receive in our search results.
What information company do you trust and how do you decide whether to trust what you find there? Make a note of your answer which you will include in your discussion post.
Now return to DB #04 - CRITICAL INTERNET SEARCHING discussion board on Canvas to see the instructions for discussing this topic.
This assignment was adapted from the UW Bothell/Cascadia Library’s College 101 - Critical Internet Searching activity.