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248 pages, Paperback
First published February 20, 2018
An early e-version of this manuscript obtained through Netgalley had formatting and linking issues that were a hindrance to understanding. Noble writes here for an academic audience I presume, and as such her jargon and complicated sentences are appropriate for communicating the most precise information in the least space. However, for a general audience this book would be a slog, something not true if one listens to Noble (as in the attached TED talk linked below). Surely one of the best things this book offers is a collection of references to others who are working on these problems around the country.
※ We are the product that Google sells to advertisers.
※The digital interface is a material reality structuring a discourse, embedded with historical relations...Search does not merely present pages but structures knowledge...
※ Google & other search engines have been enlisted to make decisions about the proper balance between personal privacy and access to information. The vast majority of these decisions face no public scrutiny, though they shape public discourse.
※ Those who have the power to design systems--classification or technical [like library, museum, & information professionals]--hold the ability to prioritize hierarchical schemes that privilege certain types of information over others.
※ The search arena is consolidated under the control of only a few companies.
※ Algorithms that rank & prioritize for profits compromise our ability to engage with complicated ideas. There is no counterposition, nor is there a disclaimer or framework for contextualizing what we get.
※ Access to high quality information, from journalism to research, is essential to a healthy and viable democracy...In some cases, journalists are facing screens that deliver real-time analytics about the virality of their stories. Under these circumstances, journalists are encouraged to modify headlines and keywords within a news story to promote greater traction and sharing among readers.
“To be a Black woman and to need hair care can be an isolating experience. The quality of service I provide touches more than just the external part of someone. It’s not just about their hair.”I do not want to get off the subject Noble has concentrated on with such eloquence in her treatise, but I can’t resist noting that we are talking about black women’s hair again…Readers of my reviews will know I am concerned that black women have experienced violence in their attitudes about their hair. If I am misinterpreting what I perceive to be hatred of something so integral to their beings, I would be happy to know it. If black hair were perceived instead as an extension of one’s personality and sexuality without the almost universal animus for it when undressed, I would not worry about this obsession as much. But I think we need also to work on making black women recognize their hair is beautiful. Period.
"Recent research on Google by Siva Vaidhyanathan...who has written one of the most important books on Google to date, demonstrates its dominance over the information landscape and forms the basis of a central theme in this research."And here again,
"Frank Pasquale, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, has also forewarned of the increasing levels of control that algorithms have over the many decisions made about us, from credit to dating options...."and again,
"The political-economic critique of Google by Elad Segev, a senior lecturer ... charges that we can no longer ignore the global dominance of Google and..."and wait, there's more
"Molly Niesen at the University of Illinois has written extensively on the loss of public accountability by federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is a major contribution..."
"This work is addressing a gap in scholarship on how search works and what it biases, public trust in search, the relationship of search to information studies, and the ways in which African Americans, among others, are mediated and commodified in Google."Can we get on with it?
“In my own imagination and in a project I am attempting to build, access to information on the web could be designed akin to a color picker tool or some other highly transparent interface, so that users could find nuanced shades of information and easily identify the borderlands between news and entertainment, entertainment and pornographers, or journalism and academic scholarship.”Break out your crayons and stop your engineers Google, all you need is a color palette!