In Google We Trust: Users’ Decisions on Rank, Position, and Relevance by Bing Pan, Helene Hembrooke, Thorsten Joachims, Lori Lorigo, Geri Gay, and Laura Granka. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(3), article 3. (2007)
An eye tracking experiment revealed that college student users have substantial trust in Google’s ability to rank results by their true relevance to the query. When the participants selected a link to follow from Google’s result pages, their decisions were strongly biased towards links higher in position even if the abstracts themselves were less relevant. While the participants reacted to artificially reduced retrieval quality by greater scrutiny, they failed to achieve the same success rate. This demonstrated trust in Google has implications for the search engine’s tremendous potential influence on culture, society, and user traffic on the Web.
Thanks to Library Journal Academic Newswire
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