This blog, the result of a collaboration between myself and the Institute for the Future of the Book, is dedicated to exploring the process of writing a critical interpretation of the actions and intentions behind the cultural behemoth that is Google, Inc. The book will answer three key questions: What does the world look like through the lens of Google?; How is Google's ubiquity affecting the production and dissemination of knowledge?; and how has the corporation altered the rules and practices that govern other companies, institutions, and states?
- The phenomenological: How does using Google alter our perceptions of the world? Are its search results accurate and appropriate? How is Google changing its search functions through human intervention? Are Google’s search algorithms inherently conservative, i.e. do they favor the establish and thus limit the dynamism of the Web? How will G affect what we know?
- The cultural and communal: How is Google’s ubiquity affecting the production and dissemination of cultural practice and knowledge? How will G affect what we make?
- The political: how has the corporation altered the rules and practices that govern other companies, institutions, and states? Will advertising ever be the same? Has Google exposed many of the core tenets of advertising to be unfounded? Will Google kill the Superbowl ad? How will G affect the ways that governments and organizations and corporations work?
- The global: how can Google’s technocratic libertarian ideology mesh with the conflicting notions of knowledge and propriety in distant far from Mountainview, California? Will Google’s relationship with the brutal government of the People’s Republic of China be its undoing? Will China change Google more than Google changes China? How will G change the world?
Possible Chapter Outline
Introduction: ".. Like the Mind of God": What Google Wants from Us
Chapter One: "To Organize All the World's Information": From Harnessing Web 1.0 to Generating Web 3.0
Chapter Two: What if Big Ads Don't Work: How Google AdSense has Upended the Industry
Chapter Three: "Don't Be Evil:" Being the Anti-Microsoft
Chapter Four: Is Google a Library?
Chapter Five: Putting the "You" in "YouTube": Challenging Big Media
Chapter Six: The Dossier: How Google Exploits Your Private Information
Chapter Seven: Global Google: How India, China, and Europe are trying to Rein in Google
Chapter Eight: Google Earth: Viewing the World through the Google Lens
Conclusion: A Public Utility?: What we can and should do about Google