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The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  787 ratings  ·  92 reviews
In the beginning, the World Wide Web was exciting and open to the point of anarchy, a vast and intimidating repository of unindexed confusion. Into this creative chaos came Google with its dazzling mission—“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible”—and its much-quoted motto, “Don’t be evil.” In this provocative book, Siva Vaidhyanathan examine ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by University of California Press (first published 2010)
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Emma Sea
Ok, so firstly, thank you Siva Vaidhyanathan for picking a book title that gave me Zoolander flashbacks for three days straight /sarcasm.

Vaidhyanathan's general argument is that information is too important for us to rely on a monolithic corporate entity to manage our access to it.

"We should not trust Google to be the custodian of our most precious cultural and scientific resources" (p. 202).

He sees information as being better managed by public service non-profit bodies, in the same way as t
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What if there was this magnanimous entity that took the internet and effectively organized it free of charge so that people could, with high frequency, find exactly what they're looking for on the sprawling, lawless worldwide web. Then what if this same entity undertook projects to map the entire world and scan millions of books, also free of charge. Wouldn't that be the most horrific fate you can imagine? Wouldn't it be better if some unwieldy coalition of public institutions put together an at ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
One of the reasons I review books is so that, if they are like this one, you don't have to. You're welcome!

It wasn't a long book to start with, but it took a bit to fight through because it stays kind of abstract. Like the subtitle says, the author is trying to get you to be worried, and the need for the book is being pitched as a threat: if you don't think about how Google is changing your life, bad things will happen! That's kind of a tall order: I don't convince easily about alarmist threats,
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Siva Vaidhyanathan says in the afterword that his book was inspired by Veblen's writings, which is fitting for a company like Google which he describes as making most of its money off of advertisements, but I found that the book had unexpectedly spiritual overtones.

To be "Googlized" in his definition is to have one's daily living and one's life trajectory altered by Google. This happens because "Google has permeated our culture."

He observes that search engines have to copy content on the Interne
Mar 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
This dude was not a good writer. Boring, boring writing. And it made me like Goggle that much more.
Margaret Heller
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
I'm sure I've read this before, but I was trying to check a reference and just decided to read the whole thing again.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
A super rare time when I rate a book that I did not finish. Usually, I don't rate books I can't finish because that's not fair to the author.

But I'm genuinely annoyed enough with this author at 25% that I don't think the rest of the book can redeem the first quarter. There are moderately complex reasons that the author has for being disgruntled with the Googlization of everything, but what it boils down to is, "things change, technology changes, life changes, progress is made, and that change an
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
"We must build the sort of online ecosystem that can benefit the whole world over the long term, not one that serves the short-term interests of one powerful company, no matter how brilliant."

"The Google Books plan is a perfect example of public failure." If they are allowed to continue, Google will "own" the rights to all books! It's one thing to allow people to view books online that have expired copyright, however, Google would be the only place that these books would be available! Even copyr
This was a very interesting book. It had a pretty negative tone, especially starting out and obviously it's a book written by someone that is wary of the power and monopoly of Google, but I think he does make a few interesting and important points that we should think about in this quickly changing world of technology. Technology really is affecting the way we live and is changing our culture.

I think it's important to understand how things that we use every day affect us. We should remember tha
This book provides some much needed critical review of the Google juggernaut - its current place in our culture; its displacement of civic, government, and public services; our own misperceptions of what Google actually is. Vaidhyanathan approaches the subject from a variety of angles and ties in many interesting ideas to his arguments. He does not roundly, thoroughly condemn Google, but rather critically examines the cultural, social and educational value it holds right now, while acknowledging ...more
Alina Colleen
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
If you’ve ever been troubled by Google’s seemingly omnipotent presence, its domination over the Internet, or just the sheer size of the behemoth company, then you might consider reading this book. I typically don’t go for nonfiction because I prefer arguments and ideals to be subtly embedded within a fictional framework, but overall, I am glad that I took the time to read it.

Although Siva Vaidhyanathan is Professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia, The Googlization of Every
J.D. Lasica
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
What an interesting premise for a book!: the notion of Google writ large as a metaphor for how the public is being enticed into a new set of online realities and cultural norms that happen to dovetail perfectly with the search giant’s bottom line. Writes Siva (an old friend whom I’ve lost touch with): “Tracking Google was never my goal; instead, I seek to explain why and how Google tracks us.”

It’s a worthy effort, particularly in such public policy areas as Google Book Search, a byzantine legal
Jun 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2010-11, 2013-14
For April, I read The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry) by Siva Vaidhyanathan. Vaidhyanathan raises some interesting points about the permeation of Google into nearly every aspect of life in America as well as many parts of the world. The Google search engine controls the way we obtain knowledge and it holds power over what bits of information we will come across on the internet. For many, Google organizes our lives (Google Calendar), stores our documents (Google Documents), a ...more
Karlo Mikhail
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
To search for something on the Web using Google is not unlike confessing your desires to a mysterious power. — Siva Vaidhyanathan

In one of my national democratic youth activist friends online conversations with Simsimi, the free artificial intelligence conversation program, they were flattered to hear positive responses about the mass organizations of which they were active members.

When they asked about a pseudo-progressive group, my friends were surprised to read a very militant reply disparagi
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
So, I totally agree with the underlying premise - which seemed to be that over time, without really realizing it, we've given Google a lot of power and control over how we interface with the internet. And that at the moment, we are largely relying on Google to do the "right thing" - that they aren't necessarily evil, but they certainly aren't neutral. Vaidhyanathan's argument is that a publicly regulated entity would be better suited to the role we've given over to Google without much question. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is just ok. Overall… I think the biggest value-added idea is that by providing search results that are tailored to what an individual probably wants to see (based on their location, search history, etc), Google is contributing to the narrowing of people’s minds instead of exposing them to new-to-them information that opens minds. This is something we all need to be aware of and we need to learn to intelligently use search utilities.

It is also good to be reminded that Google is just another
Mark Williams
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is fine, it raises some good points about how Google has taken over several facets of modern life. However, as the author himself admits, the book was written in 2012 and is starting to look quite dated on some fronts. To add to this, I found myself skim reading some pages as regretfully this book is arguably too academic for the casual reader and lacks a flow. Although I'm willing to admit this might just be this readers experience.

If the author were to bring out an updated version fo
Nikhil Kumar
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a diverse thesis on the expansion of Google from an online search service to a pervasive tool that structures and orders significant aspect of our lives. It examines the rhetoric and assumptions that have supported this proliferation and its unquestioned desire to dominate the internet, economy, society, culture and knowledge - concerns that should have been in the domain of public debate but have been willingly consigned to the whims of a parochial coterie of technocrats.
Drone Immobilier
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A very good book. Recommending this to everyone.

Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
interesting, informative, super dense reading
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Horrifyingly good. Google taking over the world because we want it too! Sort of. Very interesting stuff if you're techie stuff.
Ganta Rakesh
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Read the book in wrong year! Most of the stuff mentioned in this book is old news/views now(7 years after publishing)
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
After a decade, still relevant but written in a fairly dry way. Sometimes it took a while to get to the point or felt stuck on a specific issue for too long.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Liked it a lot. Read it quickly.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I can hardly say I have any experience with computers, except for understanding a few simple computer programs and the ability to work my way through various social media websites. For my job at the Museum of Art, I have even learned a little of wiki html, but I cannot even begin to suggest that I have even a small understanding of the vast workings behind all of the computer programming of internet websites.

In Vaidhyanathan's book he suggests that Google has provided a (currently positive and h
I am a Google super user. My browser homepage is Google. My email is through Gmail. My blog is hosted by Blogger. I have a Google+ account. I use Google Calendar and Google Docs. My cell phone runs on a Google Android operating system. I prefer Google and I didn't need to read this book to know that Google likes and wants people to prefer their products and services. In the back of my mind, I've questioned if this total infiltration of one company's wares into every aspect of my life was a good ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
This was informative, but very academic and dry, with the main idea being that Google is a private marketing company, not a benevolent public institution that should become sole public repository for the world's information.

Anyone who remembers searching with a question in the early days of the web and getting back pages and pages of the same parroted question can relate to how far Google has taken searching on the web. It has become good enough to become the default.

Google's other products are
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
As always, Vaidhyanathan provides a keenly critical, well-informed, fresh, and deep assessment to a subject that is understudied from that type of perspective. I loved his Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity for the same reasons: he approaches the topic with fairness and a firm desire for outcomes that are good for publics, not profits. All too often today we have market fundamentalists holding that whatever is good for profits is equivale ...more
Eric Phetteplace
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lis-web
I didn't overcome much of my pro-Google bias by reading this book, which is disappointing. The argumentation was spotty (an anecdote about your one journalist friend who defaults to Google Docs does not suffice to show that the company stifles innovative competitors) and most chapters failed to coalesce ("How Google Came to Rule the Web" explains no such thing). I love the central thesis--that we cannot trust a corporation with such massive responsibility, but need an NGO public org of some sort ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: media
"We may see google as a Savior, but it rules like Caesar."

"We allow google to determine what is important, relevant and true on the Web and in the world."

"Google's real customers are advertisers who pay Google to compete in an auction to rise to the top of a list of "sponsored results.""The dynamic of consumer expectations has been running at such a high speed for so many years that we become frustrated with devices and services (such as slow computer processors and Internet access) that did not
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Robertson Family Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin.

B.A., University of Texas at Austin.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and is currently a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. From 1999 through the summer of 2007 he worked in the Department of Culture and Communication at New York Universi

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