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Googlization is a neologism used to describe the expansion of Google’s search technologies and aesthetics into more markets, web applications, and contexts, including traditional institutions such as the library. The rapid rise of search media, particularly Google, is part of modern media history and draws attention to issue of access and to relationships between commercial interests and media.

Origin and history of term

In 2003, John Battelle and Alex Salkever first introduced the term ‘googlization’ to mean the dominance of Google over nearly all forms of informational commerce on the web. Initially specializing in text-based Internet searching, Google has expanded its services to include image searching, web-based email, online mapping, video sharing, news delivery, instant messaging, mobile phones, and services aimed at the academic community. Google has entered partnerships with established media interests such as Time Warner AOL, News Corporation, the New York Times, and various new agencies such as Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and the UK Press Association. Google has therefore become a giant with complex entanglements with traditional and new media.


The term Googlization is not universally accepted as a definition for this phenomenon. It is defined not only as a corporate entity, but also in the more general sense, as both a noun and a verb. According to Harro Haijboer, Googlization seems to be an undisputed term, most of the time the term is taken for fact without critically investigating it. “The term may be valid in current development but, after a critical look at the history of search engines, may not be as correctly formulated as one might think. My main questions are if the term Googlization is correct in a historical perspective? If Microsoft search engines (MSN, Live Search and Bing) are Googlized? …or if Google is ‘Microsoftized’? I suspected to find evidence that both search engines (Microsoft and Google) have had their influence onto each other. There is no way of saying if Googlization has fully taken place on Microsoft search or that there has been a form of ‘Microsoftization’ on the part of Google. In this light the term Googlization seems to be inappropriate and should be rethought of.”

Many information professionals would define the term as "digitizing a library or making something into a Google product.’ However, the definition is constantly and rapidly changing. Googlization can also mean that ever “increasing amounts of accessible information are available on the Internet; Google makes it easy & convenient to find in one place”, however, Google only makes information which already exists more accessible, rather than creating new information.


Since 2000, media scholars have analyzed and are aware of the impact of Googlization to modern human society. Geert Lovink argues against the society’s growing dependency on Google search retrieval.[7]Richard A. Rogers points out that Googlization connotes media concentration--an important political economy style critique of Google’s taking over of one service after another online; Liz Losh also claims that the Googlization of the BNF has brought considerable public attention in major magazine and newspapers in France.

The Googlization of Everything, a book published in March 2011 by Siva Vaidhyanathan, provides a critical interpretation of how Google is disrupting culture, commerce, and community. In Vaidhyanathan’s own words “the book will answer three key questions: What does the world look like through the lens of Google?; How is Google’s ubiquity affecting the production and dissemination of knowledge?; and how has the corporation altered the rules and practices that govern other companies, institutions, and states?” The author, Siva Vaidhyanathan, also has a blog where he documented the development of the book and any developments or news about Googlization and Google in general. Both the book and the blog are subtitled “How One Company is Disrupting Culture, Commerce, and Community… and Why we Should Worry.” The sentiments expressed by both the book and the blog seem to be typical of many cultural commentators.

Criticisms of Googlization

The founders of Google have encountered hostility to their enterprise almost since its inception, both in the form of general press criticism and actual legal action. Various lawsuits have included infringement of copyright law; its dealings with advertising companies and in the volume of advertising that its users encounter.

Also, despite Google’s general market dominance, some of its offshoots and additional projects have been less than successful. Nexus One (direct-to-customer sales) and Google Buzz (social networking site) all encountered problems when they were first established, problems which they are still struggling with. Also, in early February 2010, Google deleted years worth of archives from six popular music blogs due to receiving several DMCA notices from music copyright holders alleging that music was being shared illegally. This has proved to be controversial for Google.

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