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About the Book In the beginning, the World Wide Web was exciting and open to the point of anarchy, a vast and intimidating repository of unindexed confusion. While a number of excellent histories about the emergence of Google have been published.
The Googlization of Books
Vaidhyanathan's perspective as an East Coast academic outside the group-think of Silicon Valley is a valuable one. He is a clear writer with an engaging voice, and a good guide for this peek behind the wizard's curtain. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in the subject. What is going on is fascinating, and as he makes clear, what could be going on if these tools and resources get into the metaphorical wrong hands is alarming. At pages, it's well worth any Google watcher's time.
The author unmasks the monster behind the friendly interface with the suspense of a horror novel. An urgent reminder to look more closely at dangers that lurk in plain sight. Are we heading down a path toward a more enlightened age, or are we approaching a dystopia of social control and surveillance? With these and other questions, University of Virginia media studies and law professor Vaidhyanathan thoughtfully examines the insidious influence of Google on our society.
As Vaidhyanathan points out, we must be cautious about embracing Google's mission and not accept uncritically that Google has our best interests in mind. He reminds us that Google is a publicly traded, revenue-driven firm that is dangerous in many subtle ways. We very often speak of the power of users, thinking of consumers who allegedly dictate the demand and define success of products and companies. To some extent this may be right, but when it comes to a defence of users' rights or needs, or wishes that cross the interests of the power be it financial or political the picture changes drastically, especially if the users are associated with the public, not consumer or commercial interests.
The disconnected public is only to some extent united by available communication technology.
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Luckily, this interest is so close to many other businesses that the resistance can win some small battles, but as the history proves they are quite marginal, especially as the state bodies who should care about public, understand the public good in most cases through the prism of business interests. So, in fact the power of users is really negligent when it does not pour water on the company's mill.
It is not only the case of Google, but Google's case is a very special one as proved by Vaidhyanathan in his excellent book. The fact that Google is so good and started with and idealistic slogan of 'doing no evil' and I am sure the company employees still believe this is the case, and most probably I would believe the same if I was employed by Google , which seems much more reasonable than 'doing much good', that it was accepted as a paragon of the new world corporation by almost all members of public, including intellectual elite. By now, these elite become very much concerned about the powers that societies have willingly rendered to this excellent company.
There is no argument about its excellence in creating business models or ICT applications. However, the awareness of the corporate power spilling into the public sphere is growing quite quickly lately.
The book under review is an example of this growing awareness. I really enjoyed the author's attempt to be as fair as possible to the Google as a company and to highlight its best features. It does differ from many others, but it is a commercial corporation that has to follow the business logic in the competitive market and it is not the fault of the Google that it is as it is.
However, it operates within a sphere of high public value. Thus, the public restrictions and controls over its power should be in place and observed rigorously.
The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry) - Siva Vaidhyanathan - Google книги
Unfortunately, it is not the case. But it is not the case in relation to many other business corporations operating in the same sphere of media and public information provision, development and implementation of information infrastructure throughout the world.
It is not the case in relation to other businesses, which under the name of sustainable development continue the destruction of our own planet supported by the governments on all levels. I do not think that all this happens because of malice, but whatever the reasons, it happens more often than is good to us.