But now, as we face the impending Googlization of everything, we should ask some hard questions about how Google is not only “creatively destroying” established players in various markets, but is also altering the very ways we see our world and ourselves.
If Google becomes the dominant way we navigate the Internet, and thus the primary lens through which we experience both the local and the global, then it will have remarkable power to set agendas and alter perceptions. Its biases are built into its algorithms. It knows more about us every day. We know almost nothing about it.
The company itself takes a technocratic approach to any larger ethical questions in its way: they are engineers. Every potential problem is either a bug in the system yet to be fixed or a feature in its efforts to provide better service. This attitude masks the fact that Google is not a neutral tool or flat plane of glass. It is an actor and a stakeholder in itself. And more importantly, as a publicly traded company, must act in its own short-term interest despite its altruistic proclamations.
[via Crooked Timber.]