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The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry) Hardcover – March 8, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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An intriguing exposé of the popular website. . . The author unmasks the monster behind the friendly interface with the suspense of a horror novel. An urgent reminder to look more closely at dangers that lurk in plain sight. --Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
The book is an impressive synthesis of the current thinking on and around Google -- much of it applicable to any contemporary dot-com with runaway success. One of Siva's objections to the "googlization" of the online knowledge space is that while institutions like libraries and universities typically plan to be around in a hundred years, companies like Google do not necessarily have, or plan for, such staying power. This is a nicely contestable sentiment -- that, as a corporate entity, Google is inherently shorter lived then, say, the University of Virginia, or at least its values are less consistent over time. It sets up a deeper question of what mix of institutions ought to contribute to the world and serve as gateways to our accumulated knowledge, and with what ethos (ethoi?).
In the last section, Siva proposes a Human Knowledge Project. The name is derived from the Human Genome Project. It is intended to be a "global information ecosystem," essentially a Google by and for the public sphere: "The Human Knowledge Project should [be] open, public, global, multilingual, and focused. It should be sensitive to the particular needs of communities of potential knowledge users around the world, yet it should be committed to building a global system that can erase the gaps in knowledge that current exist between a child growing up in a poor village in South Africa and another growing up in a wealthy city in Canada.Read more ›
I found the same his latest book, the "Googlization of Everything". The idea of "techno-fundamentalism" resonated deeply with me as I have struggled with efforts in my profession to abandon tried and true methods of librarianship and information science in the rush to embrace the latest gadget or newest technology. Indeed, American culture (and it could be argued Western culture as well) has become fascinated with all things tech to the point of techno-fundamentalism, or a blind faith in technology and its ability to solve all the world's problems. Technology has done great things for the human race, but has also had weighty consequences as well.
The author does not seek to destroy Google or even hope for its demise. Instead he argues that we need to take back the objects of our culture from Google and others who, in the name of technology, progress, faster search and access, would seek to monopolize them and make money from them. I appreciate Dr. Vaidhyanathan's vision for a Human Knowledge Project, and hope to assist him and others in making that a reality. True change will only come about through deliberation, debate, and collaboration. It will not be handed down from a "benevolent giant" like Google.
As the debate heats up and accelerates in internet time, it's a pleasure to turn to Siva Vaidhyanathan's The Googlization of Everything, a carefully considered take on the company composed over the past five years. After this week is over, no one is going to really care whether Google properly punished JC Penney for scheming its way to the top non-paid search slot for "grommet top curtains." But our culture will be influenced in ways large and small by Google's years of dominance, whatever happens in coming years. I don't have time to write a full review now, but I do want to highlight some key concepts in Googlization, since they will have lasting relevance for studies of technology, law, and media for years to come.
Dan Solove helped shift the privacy conversation from "Orwell to Kafka" in a number of works over the past decade. Other scholars of surveillance have first used, and then criticized, the concept of the "Panopticon" as a master metaphor for the conformity-inducing pressures of ubiquitous monitoring. Vaidhyanathan observes that monitoring is now so ubiquitous, most people have given up trying to conform. As he observes,
[T]he forces at work in Europe, North America, and much of the rest of the world are the opposite of a Panopticon: they involve not the subjection of the individual to the gaze of a single, centralized authority, but the surveillance of the individual, potentially by all, always by many.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The price charged me for this Kindle book was not the price shown on my Kindle when I ordered it. Since I was unable to find any customer complaint place on the AMZN web site to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by HWBowman
This book was just good enough to keep reading, but at many times I thought about putting it down for good. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Matt Bailey
The book correctly points out that some people may possibly depend on Google too much. While Google has done a lot of good to some people in certain instances, it also is a human... Read morePublished 21 months ago by William
This is a great book about digital and the "invasion" of technology in our lives, and Google
of course. Read more
Perhaps I am a bit biased to like this book: I don't use facebook, I don't have a smarphone, I'm mildly paranoid about amount of individual information floating around in the... Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by Kot Matroskin
I read a paperback version of this and thought Siva V. gave interesting insight into The Google business. Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Mac
Introduced to this in Coursera MOOC (Understanding the Media by Understanding Google") and found it as essential as the Surgeon Generals warning about smokingPublished on November 8, 2013 by Amazon Customer