Financial Times on Search Engine Society

James Harkin, writing for the The Financial Times, has a wrap-up of three new books on search engines, including mine. He suggests that I am too awed by search technologies. Well, as criticism goes, I think that’s fair. Or, to be more exact, I have the feeling that most people are too complacent about the role of search engines, and it is worth thinking about.

Harkin suggests that “Whatever people might think, however, information is not power. Power is power. It is what we do with the information that bubbles up from Google’s algorithm that will clinch the cultural argument.” I’m not sure here, but it sounds like he is partially agreeing with the argument of my book. I argue, however, that we need to not accept what “bubbles up” at face value. Google argues–at least at times–that the algorithm is relatively neutral, and we can decide what we make of its results. It’s hard to know which side of these Harkin falls on, though I suppose it will appear in some form in his own forthcoming book.

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  1. Posted 11/10/2008 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Alex – Congratulations on the book.

    You don’t remember me, but I attended a class you lectured back when I was a student at UB. (I may be wrong, but I think I may have talked to you at some point for a story I wrote. Perhaps for Artvoice?)

    Anyway, love your blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. alex
    Posted 11/18/2008 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Daniel: Sorry for the lateness of the reply. Thanks so much for your post.

  3. Nick Jankowski
    Posted 1/8/2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


    You may not have seen this review of Search Engine Society. Congratulations!

  4. alex
    Posted 1/10/2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Nick: Thanks! Yes, I had a chance to reply to Joris on his blog (and via email), but thanks for the link-up.

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