2

The structure and power of search engines

Search engines increasingly serve as the main instrument to acquire online information (Hopkins, 2007). Several studies by the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicate that search engine use has become one of the most common online activities (Fallows, 2005, 2008). The growing popularity and power of search engines raises questions about their role in shaping the global information order.

While the first chapter provided a framework to contextualise the historical aspects of communication and the emergence of a global information network, this chapter and the next one focus on the operation of search engines in general and Google in particular. Search engines are perceived as agents that organise ...

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