August 27th, 2006

classic cylon

Why do we trust Google?

The issue is discussed in a First Monday paper by Lee Shaker, a PhD candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The key point made by the paper is that mainstream reporting on Google, such as is done by the New York Times, is generally uncritical of the company, focusing on its phenomenal (financial) growth and popularity.

There have been arguments made that the blogosphere is a better source of information than traditional media. While this may be true to some extent, bloggers aren't reporters, at least in a conventional sense. They aren't obligated to be unbiased, or neutral, with regards to the subjects they cover. (Arguably, newspapers don't always live up to neutrality standards.) So to individuals who are looking for objective reporting, blogs may not be a viable source of information. Furthermore, there are far more blogs than there are newspapers. A single individual cannot possibly keep up with all of them, even those that cover Google. There are certainly plenty of blogs that are critical of Google, but chances are the public at large will read few if any of them. This means that until an issue warranting serious Google coverage comes up, such as the AOL data leak, Google will probably continue to be perceived in an extremely positive light.