Search engines are ubiquitous and we often use them without thinking about how they work and with little regard to the quality and display of a search engine’s results.
Perhaps it’s time to change.
When you ask Google ‘what happened to the dinosaurs’ this is what appears at the top of the results.
Google has also had other recent ‘mishaps’. Searching for the racial slur “N***** house” in Google Maps sent people to the White House, Barack Obama’s residence. In another instance Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, appeared in image search results for “Top 10 criminals“.
Antimedia asks “is it appropriate for Google, a search engine that children and adults alike depend on, to pass out answers like this?” Frankly I don’t think Google cares. But I think we as librarians should. We should be evaluating search engines with the same rigour we evaluate other information and websites, and we should be showing our communities and our students how to do the same.
If you are interested in improving your knowledge and skills in evaluating search engines try The Search Engine CRAP Test.