Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Google Is Polluting the Internet

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
Google eye

Google advertising "We have public libraries. We need a public search engine."

Dominic Lipinski / PA

An advertising agency has monopolized, disorganized, and commercialized the largest library in human history. Without a fundamental rethinking of the way knowledge is organised in the digital era, Google's information coup d'état will have profound existential consequences.

Google was originally conceived to be a commercial-free search engine. Twelve years ago, in the first public documentation of their technology, the inventors of Google warned that advertising corrupts search engines. "[W]e expect that advertising-funded search engines," Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote, "will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers." And they condemned as particularly "insidious" the sale of the top spot on search results, a practice Google now champions.

Under the sway of CEO Eric Schmidt, Google currently makes nearly all its money from practices its founders once rightly abhorred. Following its $3.1bn acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007, Google has became the world's largest online advertising company. With ad space on 85% of all internet sites, upwards of 98% of Google's revenue comes solely from polluting online knowledge with commercial messages. In the gleeful words of Schmidt, "We are an advertising company." Google is not a search engine; it is the most powerful commercialising force on the Internet.

From The Guardian
View Full Article


No entries found