The Neutrality of Google Results
Commercial searching engine, represented by Google, occupies a very crucial and close position in people’s daily life. As I know, every time people want to know something unfamiliar or curious about, they Google it at first and see what Google tells them. Thus, the reliability and neutrality of Google results’ information can be really influential for people’s values toward something with stereotypes and myths. When I tried to Google “Asian women”, the first two results I got are “Asian Girls: View PIcs & Photos of Beautiful Asian Women” and “Top 10 Most Beautiful Asian Women In the World 2016”. These two results as I regard is pretty much the same as Safiya Umoja Noble mentioned in her article when she searched for “Black girls”, even though the results I got ddi not contain pornography.
Before I read this article, I didn’t realize the problem of in-neutrality of Google would be this severe. I always assumed that Google should set a program for ranking results in the order of neutral and unbiased, healthy values. However, the results that Google give us are not as neutral as I thought. I think the average Google users should define “balanced” and “reliable” as the most prevailing value existing in the society, which is relatively neutral and unbiased, but stereotypes and bad words still exist. I think this topic actually related to my previous reading about “Filter Bubble”. which talks about how Google filters out those results that they assume people might not be interested and present people with their “preferred” information. And this also can be biased and influential in shaping people’s values.
On such basis that people rely on the searching information from Google a lot, those information can be effectively influential. As Safiya mentioned in her article, if a class searched for “black girls” together and got results such as black girl pornography at the top, what would those kids think and how would the black girls among those kids feel? Since many people assume the top searching results are the most popular ones, those biased information will definitely make people think those are what prevailing in the society nowadays, which is actually not.
In conclusion, I think the data selection and ranking system of Google nowadays is not neutral enough. Therefore, I think Google should take more efforts in promoting neutrality of searching results as well as the rules of ranking information. There is a page of Google stating that they are currently working on making Google results more open and neutral, which I think it’s the correct attitude and common goal that every internet users should devote for.