The relationship between libraries and Google has had a long, sometimes turbulent journey. At first blush, it appeared that both parties shared the goal of providing access to information; however, cracks began appearing in their partnership. This paper examines this dynamic by outlining some of the concerns voiced and suggesting that Google and libraries have different views regarding information access.
The Integrity of Search Results
Librarians and Google have often discussed the integrity of Google’s returned search results. Librarians contend that these outcomes are compromised due to factors such as how Google’s algorithms are designed, the way data used for ranking searches is collected, and how often it is manipulated.
Google takes great care to ensure the accuracy and relevance of their search results, which is why they have invested heavily in developing algorithms to enhance both their quality assurance system and ranking systems. As a result, they guarantee more relevant and precise answers for users’ inquiries.
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This has included the development of ‘zero-clicks’ technologies that enable web pages to be updated with new content without users having to perform a full search on the website. Furthermore, it has created tools and services that enable websites to integrate their digital assets with search results.
Google’s strategy to expand its business model includes developing these tools and services. This initiative, known as infogration, involves capturing various aspects of physical and social reality and translating them into digital data so targeted ads can be displayed more effectively.
Infogration is an ingenious and revolutionary approach to creating a new business model. It stands in stark contrast to horizontal integration, which involves purchasing up competition, and vertical integration, which involves purchasing businesses in both upstream and downstream industries.
Google’s business model differs from others that depend on selling access to users to advertisers in that it requires the creation of products and services which are both beneficial for people and profitable for Google. This approach makes sense given their technological prowess, along with their capacity for rapid expansion into new areas.
Google has made a significant investment in AI, and is now testing out conversational agents that interface directly with its core search product. While these new chatbots have caused controversy and even sent Alphabet shares plunging, it remains uncertain how they will function and what effect this may have on library services.
Google has been accused of using click-through data to manipulate search engine results, although they maintain that this is rarely the case. As a result, they have pledged greater transparency and provide as much information as possible to SEOs and site owners.