Give a critical account of its genesis and how it is part how is it part of historical trends in communications media or information management. Who owns and controls the key business in this field? Who benefits from its transformative effects in political economic, social and/or cultural terms, and who does not?
The invention of search engines has become a crucial part of individual’s lives and also considered as a most important tool for communication of ideas, information to many users over the globe. Search engines are designed in such a way that it accumulates information from users, arrange it and present it to users according to their queries (Hellsten, 2006). The essay aims to discuss the search engine innovation that has changed human life. The essay will begin with the description of the search engine, its origin and the historical trends that have led to the evolution of search engines in communication media and information management. Further, the essay will discuss the entities that own and regulates the search engine business. The essay will also highlight the political and economic benefits along with social and cultural issues that create both positive and negative impact on communities
Search Engine and its origin
The globe has become a small place due to the viability of the internet and particularly search engines where all the users have been connected by sharing and receiving knowledge about all aspects. The search engine is a term given to a software platform where all the information obtained from billions of users is stored and is available in a systematic manner for multiple usages to humankind (Brin, 2012). Reports claim that search engines report about more than 2553 billion searches per year establishing the fact that search engines are of immense usage and has provided enormous benefits to the human population (Bar-Ilan, 2007). The genesis of search engines has evolved from the period of world war II, 1945 when there was no availability of internet developed by the group led by Gerard Salton and his colleagues referred as SMART information retrieval system (Seymour, 2011). However, the smart information retrieval system had many loopholes like feedback time, decoding and coding of input, relevancy of information. With such scenarios, it marked the new beginning of an era where search engines were constantly developed with much better versions.
The historical trends of search engines depict that they have always contributed towards communication media and information management leading to increased social connections among people from various regions. The search engines based on the internet are constantly evolving from the period of the 1990’s with GOOGLE search engine being the most popular and successful since two decades (Bar-Ilan, 2007). The first search engine developed was Archie in 1990 which presented documents in an indexed manner, followed by Lycos in 1993 which was widely used as social network sites (Seymour, 2011). As the time folds, there was a trend in search engines that were developed on the basis of providing easier and authentic information to users based on pay per click services, automatic clustering of data, query word search, voice compatibility, more web pages inclusion and many others (Raisinghani, 2005). In 1996, Google entered as backrub and with constant development and changed it has disrupted the entire market and have earned a monopoly position with market share of 92.71% in Australia (Global stats, 2018). Thus depicting that there was constant development taking place in software for search engines that specifically sought to ease lives of individuals by providing them systematic information and enhancing communication between user and interface.
Figure 1timeline of the search engine; Source: https://images.slideplayer.com/19/5852924/slides/slide_3.jpg
Regulation of Search Engine Business
The search engines are referred to a platform that promotes and provide relevant information to users in terms of documents, services, advertisements, information’s, current news and many more. Reports by Eliaz (2011) states that the majority of people are inclined towards search engines to extract the information shared on search engines, and this is how companies of search engines make revenue from their business. The search engines like Google or Bing earn their business revenue based on the concept of pay-per-click from advertisements communicated on their webpages that are owned and controlled by their parent company like Alphabet and Microsoft respectively (BBC, 2016). This reveals that the business of search engine involves communication through advertisement and representing information as output is owned and controlled by the parent company and associated firms that aims to expands their share in the market. The businesses involved in the search engines are controlled by various governmental, legal authorities like European commissions, information and broadcasting ministry, online-intermediation policies and similar agencies of specific continents or countries (Lev-On, 2008). This indicates that these agencies hinder the developer or company associated with search engines from communicating any kind of offensive information or message to users by imposing regulatory policies to bound companies from any kind of foul play.
Economic and Political Benefits
A study conducted by Hargittai (2007) states that economical advantage is obtained from applying the pay-per-click model, VCG (Vickrey–Clarke–Groves) pricing model, developing business model, advertisements auction on the various websites. This indicates the economic benefits derived from search engines like revenue generation, marketing for sellers on an e-commerce website, blockage of pirated movies leads to benefit the original movie-makers and many other. Another study by (Granka, 2010) indicates that the political agencies like specific information ministries, cross-country unions, European commissions, intelligence agencies have benefitted from the transformation phase that has occurred in the field of search engines business. The political advantages associated with the search engines are election campaigning and results can be predicted, information can be shared with mass population and opinions polls can help in decision making. For example, search engine blocks malpractices on their platform, decline in numerous false business-like piracies, duplicity and make appropriate laws and regulation for citizens.
Business Revenue Model- Alphabet
Fox News: Google parent company Alphabet beats revenue target
Social and Cultural Benefits:
Apart from political and economic benefits, the transformation in search engines has also impacted the social and cultural practices of users in both positive and negative aspects. Search engines have been the major source of information about almost everything that is available for humans. It is reported that users and regulatory authority along with the parent company are the major three parties that are mostly benefitted from the search engine as this provide information, depicts user data and revenue respectively to them (Hargittai, 2007). Cultural issues associated with search engines are mostly based on the operating region where the user is accessing the information like a person sitting in Asia countries will prefer to have webpages in their local languages, depicts data of their location, and information provided is updated or not (Van Couvering, 2007). For instance, many webpages on Facebook or any other social media platforms led by the ideology of certain group of people or individual have more than a thousand followers which affect the community thinking. Another report by Diaz (2008) indicates that social networking sites on search engines have been the major reason to spread news or any information across the social community. This reflects that sections of society are driven by the content that is available and shared over social media platforms and based on the click model, the same social message will appear on the first page of search engine.
With the passage of time, there has been great transformation happening in the field of the search engine from the period of stacking online documents to systemized management of information and communicating the message in the form of advertisements and services to the end user. Accessing Search engine has become an integral activity in our life. From every minute activity like playing a song to being tutor for studies, search engine is been used continuously all day long. Search engine has provided the entire information from world, and across universe on a small screen which has benefitted in improving my knowledge related to studies and understand various perspective. Though search engine has aid in learning new technology and theories, it has also limited my scope of critical thinking beyond the imagination.
The Essay aimed to discuss the search engine innovation that has changed human life. The essay described search engine that presents information in an organized manner based on the query inputs by the user. The search engine was originated as information retrieval system, and with the presence of internet, the search engine evolved based on historical trends like Pay-per-click, advertisements, voice compatibility in communication and information management. Google, Yahoo are the most recommended search engines owned by Alphabet and Microsoft respectively. The entities that owns and regulates the search engine business are parent companies, government agencies, sellers of the e-commerce platform. The essay also highlighted about the political and economic benefits like regulatory policies, business motives of agencies, sellers and users. At last, the essay described about the social and cultural benefits like removal of barriers within the communities an also as constant guidance for education and information.
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