Google Kritik

The State of Google Critique and Intervention, Big Data & Society, March 2023
“This special issue focuses on Google as an object of critical study and European interventions that increasingly strive to counteract its dominance. Grounded in empirical case studies, it traces the politics of search engines to its very beginning by revisiting Brin’s and Page’s “mixed motives” of the PageRank algorithm and how they contributed to surveillance capitalism. It analyses search engine bias and discrimination by focusing on “data voids” and how they may potentially be filled with extreme right-wing sources, as well as the patching of “offensive results”, both past and present. It poses the question of how Google’s ubiquity is complicit in the creation of ignorance in the context of the climate crisis. Beyond the critique, it finally investigates how providers of alternative search engines counter-imagine hegemonic search and what interventions may help these projects to grow out of their niches, especially in Europe where social values and fundamental rights are strongly upheld in policy rhetoric. The special issue closes with two commentaries embedding “the State of Google Critique and Intervention” in larger discussions on the ethical dimensions of Google Autocomplete and the political economy of technical systems.”