Search engines are a core component of the internet as we know it. Based on Durkheims idea in his book „Division of labor“ suggesting infrastructure such as roads and railways connect people, enabes economic development and – indirectly – contributes to the transformation of social solidarity, it is hard to overestimate the impact of search engines. On any day in 2006, about 60 million adult Americans entered more than 200 million search queries into searchengines. In 2005, 84 per cent of Internet users have used search engines. On any given day, 56 per cent of those online have used search engines. 92 per cent of those who use search engines say they are confident about their searching abilities, with over half of them, 52 per cent, say they’re “very confident”. 68 per cent of users say that search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information. Only 19 per cent say they don’t place that trust in search engines (PEW Internet and American life project – Search engine users, 2005). As of August 2007, Google is not only handling the majority of all search queries. It manages to increase its share to handling 1200 million searches per day on average worldwide, according to Clickz reporting on Comscore data. Yahoo is way behind at 275 million search queries per day, and MSN at 70 Million. Baidu (a Chinese search engine) beats MSN, coming in at 105 million. 2006 figures for the US only put Google at 91 million searches per day. Reason enough to theorize a little bit about search engines, their importance, their policies and why they give rise to trust concerns online. Search engines are technology, information infrastructure, knowledge infrastructure and a socio-economic thing simultaneously. Hence, if I enter a search query into any search engine, Is it social action? Is it economic action? Can social and economic action be separated in a search query, at all? And how does that relate to trust concerns?
So I came across “Web Search – Multidisciplinary Perspectives” (Springer, 2008), edited by Amanda Spink and Michael Zimmer. The book is structured into three main sections with five chapters each. Following the introduction, Part II presents social, cultural and philosophical aspects of Web search. Part III presents political, legal and economic aspects of Internet search. Part IV presents information behavior perspectives. And in section five – conclusion – the editors draw together the results and discuss avenues for further research.
Essays include “Through the Google Googles: Sociopolitical Bias in Search Engine Design”, “Reconsidering the Rhizome: A textual Analysis of Web Search Engines ”, “Searching ethics: The role of search engines in the Construction and Distribution of knowledge”, “The Gaze of the Perfect Search Engine: Google as an Infrastructure of Dataveillance”, “Search Engine Liability for Copyright Infringement”, “The democratizing effects of Search Engine use: On Chance exposures and Organizational Hubs”, “Googling Terrorists: Are Northern Irish Terrorists visible on Internet search engines?”, “The history of Internet Search Engine: Navigational Media and the Traffic Commodity”, “Toward a Web Search Information Behavior model”, “Web Searching for Health: theoretical foundations and Connections to Health Related Outcomes”, and
“Web Searching: A quality measurement Perspective.” Weiterlesen