Google Grouse

Can I just take a moment to complain about something librarian-ish? I just read this article, a scientific study conducted on Google searches. Here’s the abstract:

An eye tracking experiment revealed that college student users have substantial trust in Google’s ability to rank results by their true relevance to the query. When the participants selected a link to follow from Google’s result pages, their decisions were strongly biased towards links higher in position even if the abstracts themselves were less relevant. While the participants reacted to artificially reduced retrieval quality by greater scrutiny, they failed to achieve the same success rate. This demonstrated trust in Google has implications for the search engine’s tremendous potential influence on culture, society, and user traffic on the Web.

Now, I’m just as fond of Google as the next guy, but I get frustrated now and then by people’s over-reliance on it. There are other ways to get answers out there, folks, and relying on an automated algorithm to do your research for you is a stupid approach. Looking for a specific website? Great. Looking for easily verified information? Fantastic. Trying to get a real answer to something scholarly? Um . . . no.

It’s not so much the “turning to Google for answers” that I’m objecting to–it’s the apparent “trusting Google’s results more than my own brain” that I don’t like. At the very least, people, interpret the results that Google gives you. Simply clicking on something because it’s higher on the results page . . .

*wanders off, shaking his head*

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