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The Googlization of Everything: Interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan

Siva Vaidhyanathan’s new book, The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry), is out. He finds a lot to like about Google, but also raises lots of questions about it. Among other things, he proposes a sprawling effort by libraries and like-minded institutions that would essentially give Googlers a public option.

He discusses his ideas in an interview in Inside Higher Ed.


[Google] has contributed to the steady commercialization of higher education and the erosion of standards of information quality.

Google is not a problem because it allegedly weakens our faculties. It’s a problem because Google bakes biases into its algorithms. And we fail to recognize that fact.

Most of the recent changes in Google’s search algorithms make Google much better for shopping and much worse for learning….The same service cannot serve wisdom and wealth equally well.

Fundamentally, we must recognize that some things are too important to be entrusted to unaccountable private actors.

The Human Knowledge Project would be a 50-year public, global plan to design, legislate for, enable, and fund a global digital library service to deliver the best information to the most people. It’s as feasible as it is desirable. In other words, if we don’t do it it’s because we don’t really want it.

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