Web Search pp 11-34 | Cite as

Through the Google Goggles: Sociopolitical Bias in Search Engine Design

Part of the Information Science and Knowledge Management book series (ISKM, volume 14)


Search engines like Google are essential to navigating the Web’s endless supply of news, political information, and citizen discourse. The mechanisms and conditions under which search results are selected should therefore be of considerable interest to media scholars, political theorists, and citizens alike. In this chapter, I adopt a “deliberative” ideal for search engines and examine whether Google exhibits the “same old” media biases of mainstreaming, hypercommercialism, and industry consolidation. In the end, serious objections to Google are raised: Google may favor popularity over richness; it provides advertising that competes directly with “editorial” content; it so overwhelmingly dominates the industry that users seldom get a second opinion, and this is unlikely to change. Ultimately, however, the results of this analysis may speak less about Google than about contradictions in the deliberative ideal and the so-called “inherently democratic” nature of the Web.


Search Engine Deliberative Democracy Internet Search Engine American Life Project Search Company 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Diaz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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