Search is too important to leave to one company – even Google

Search is too important to leave to one company – even Google:

The question of what we can and can't see when we go hunting for answers demands a transparent, participatory solution. There's no dictator benevolent enough to entrust with the power to determine our political, commercial, social and ideological agenda. This is one for The People.


"Melvin Dewey didn't predict computers; he also mixed Islam in with Sufism, and gave table-knocking psychics their own category. "

Ol' Dui had interesting ideas about spelling, but probably never thought to change his first name to Melvin. Heck, even a quick check with that crowdsourced encyclopedia would yield the right first name.

And is Doctorow really advocating that the government take over search engines, or does he somehow think crowdsourcing can replace Google's server farms for free? Of course, we have the superb (cough cough hack hack) search engine in Wikipedia as an example, don't we? Realistically, the only way to achieve Doctorow's future would be for some world government or set of governments to "publicize" Google (the reverse of privatize) or mandate that, by law, no search engine can fill more than 49% of search requests. I don't like having one dominant search engine, but I don't see anything in Doctorow's piece doing anything about it.

There are several choices available. People just need to use them.


Isn't this a little like everyone writing a letter to the Wind stating that we, as wind consumers, demand that the Wind blow only in the way we want it to? Or that some Magic Wind Consortium appear, funded, out of nowhere to address these wind-related problems?

We have no say in the matter and the market forces that would force any change will take a lot more people than the subset of people who give a yahoo about what pointy-headed people like Cory Doctorow think about anything.

If there was any oomph behind the ALA for something like this, I presume it could be a sizable group to do such lobbying. Whether or not they have the will to act is beyond me, though.
Stephen Michael Kellat, Interim Coordinator, LISNews Netcast Network
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