While we are all die hard Google and Yahoo fans (not to forget Bing and the others), very few of us actually realize the rippling effects of the efficiencies of these search engines on our society.  Google has been at the center of antitrust investigations and a controversial Italian court case in recent times. But is  this the sole reason why people should question the search giant’s ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra? These search engines have created a major problem many of us fail to realize, even though it is staring at us on our face.

Google (and others) definitely have helped mankind in a way no other technology company can ever boast of in the near future. By aiding and fulfilling the information search requirements of every Googler, the company has also created a problem we often overlook.

A few things which we often fail to notice which these search engines have done are as follows:

  1. These search engines, by making the information so easily available has stifled the creativity and genuineness of original thinking among students and professionals alike. Indeed, with IP rights difficult to implement across the web, this has raised a lot of eyebrows.
  2. Content being so easily available, it is often not possible for an individual to judge the correctness of the same. So wrong facts or construed content often gives rise to even more wrong interpretation and learning.
  3. Users get access to content that they should not have access to, thanks to these search engines. While the companies may shrug this off saying it is the moral responsibility of the user only to adhere to norms, can they really do so?
  4. The search engines are also responsible for the slowly dying brand loyalty of sites which provide quality content. There is a gradual shift of preferences from rather visiting a particular site for content to “Google it”. This sometimes create a dilution in the content the user gets exposed to, while punishing the original content developers.
  5. Last, but not the least, there is one aspect that the search engines are trying to address. Companies, using Social Media and Search Engine Optimization, are generating traffic to their sites, and getting decent rankings on the search pages. Few of such companies are actually not genuine, and this has led to various fraud cases on the net.

Time to ponder. The search engines have given us so much. What exactly are they taking away?

It’s been a difficult week for Google, which has been at the centre of antitrust investigations and a controversial Italian court case. Is the search giant’s halo slipping, or does the ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra still hold true?

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.