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


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© 2010
Chandos Publishing
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN: