Jutta Haider and Olof Sundin. Invisible Search and Online Search Engines: The Ubiquity of Search in Everyday Life. London, New York: Routledge, 2019. 160p. Hardcover, $160.00 (ISBN: 978-1-138-32860-0).

Eamon C. Tewell


What is the most recent thing you searched for online? A recipe to try? A favorite brand of clothes on sale? Contact information for your dentist’s office? A movie to watch? Jutta Haider and Olof Sundin, Professors of Information Studies at Lund University, use this prompt in focus group studies with people of different age groups and professions, as one illustration of their central thesis: search engines and online search are deeply embedded in our daily lives, often without our recognition. The responses represent the array of information that is sought online throughout a given day, indicative of the search-ification of everyday life, a key concept explored in this book. Platforms such as Google gather personal data on an immeasurable scale, learning every monetizable component of our lives to more efficiently sell us things while maintaining our attention and driving our continued use. Search engines know so much about our interests, desires, and day-to-day existence. Shouldn’t we know more about them?

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