Google and the Digital Divide

Google and the Digital Divide

The Bias of Online Knowledge

1st Edition - January 21, 2010

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  • Author: Elad Segev
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843345657
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780631783

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Beneficial to scholars and students in the fields of media and communication, politics and technology, this book outlines the significant role of search engines in general and Google in particular in widening the digital divide between individuals, organisations and states. It uses innovative methods and research approaches to assess and illustrate the digital divide by comparing the popular search queries in Google and Yahoo in different countries as well as analysing the various biases in Google News and Google Earth. The different studies developed and presented in this book provide various indications of the increasing customisation and popularisation mechanisms employed by popular search engines, which together with “organising the world’s information” inevitably also intensify information inequalities and reinforce commercial and US-centric priorities and agendas.

Key Features

  • Develops an extensive historical investigation of information, power and the digital divide
  • Provides new social and political perspectives to understand search engines in general and Google in particular
  • Suggests original methods to study and assess the digital divide as well as the extent of commercialisation and Americanisation worldwide


Interdisciplinary scholars and students in the fields of media and communication, information studies, politics, economics and technology

Table of Contents

  • List of figures and tables

    About the author



    Chapter 1: Power, communication and the internet

    Communication and power

    The emergence of the internet

    The various faces of the digital divide

    The online knowledge/power nexus

    The emergence of the information society

    The power of interfaces

    ‘Informational politics’ online


    Chapter 2: The structure and power of search engines

    A short history of information search

    The challenge of the deep web

    The challenge of the internet infrastructure

    Information protection and digital ‘islands’

    Interest/internet conflicts

    Control over informational commons

    The European answer

    The long tail of search engines


    Chapter 3: Google and the politics of online searching

    Google’s big idea

    Google’s search engine mechanism

    Google’s customised search

    Google’s additional services

    Google Scholar

    Google Translate

    Google’s global control by local use

    Reinforcing online allegiance

    Online manipulation and punishment


    Chapter 4: Users and uses of Google’s information


    Data sources

    A cross-national comparison

    Main classification system

    Reliability of coding: the hidden intention

    Economic and political value index

    Variety of uses

    Specificity of search index

    Extent of locality

    Initial predictions

    Results and analysis

    Summary and discussion

    Chapter 5: Mass media channels and the world of Google News

    Online transformation of media and news

    Commercial motives and their implications

    Google World News

    Dominant online states

    International concern

    International network

    The language dimension

    Summary and conclusion

    Chapter 6: Google’s global mapping

    Google Earth and Google Maps

    Biases in scope

    The national security dimension

    Summary and discussion

    Chapter 7: Conclusion

    The importance of information and communication

    The power of the search engine

    ‘Googling’ and the politics of online search

    Information uses in Google and Yahoo!

    The world of Google News

    The bias of Google mapping

    The impact of popularisation mechanisms

    The future of search engines

    From personal advisers to global advertisers

    The future of the information society

    Chapter 8: Epilogue

    Appendix A: Search engines statistics

    Appendix B: Data for statistic analysis



Product details

  • No. of pages: 256
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2010
  • Published: January 21, 2010
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843345657
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780631783

About the Author

Elad Segev

Elad Segev is a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer of Media and Communications at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He dedicated his doctorate work at the Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice at Keele University to study search engine biases. His research also deals with technology, primarily the Internet, and its social, political and cultural implications. Additionally, he serves as a visiting lecturer of new media and network theory at Ben Gurion University and Emek Yizrael Academic College in Israel.

Affiliations and Expertise

Hebrew University, Israel

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