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WAK GSW 101: Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies: Web Search Results

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The tutorial below offers insight into how search results may differ from one person to the next.  The video and reflection question on the right show a real world example of the impact of search algorithms.

Understanding (Google) Search Results

Why Search Algorithms Matter

Algorithms are complex sets of instructions typically used by computers to execute a task or solve a problem, and they play a big role in the way we experience and view the world. Social media platforms, artificial intelligence, and search engines like Google all rely on algorithms to find, organize, and display content based on data these services collect on their users. In the video ‘Algorithms of Oppression’ Noble talks about how we perceive search results as “Objective/Fair/ Neutral," but, in reality there are many algorithmic controls that shape the results we see.

1. Watch

After watching the ‘Algorithms of Oppression’ video, reflect on the question below.

2. Discuss

  • We know that Google uses a search algorithm to anticipate what you want to find. Is this always a helpful feature? Describe an example of a situation in which personalized results are appreciated and an example of when personalized results are misleading.