What Google Teaches us About Inequality

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This picture taken on January 27, 2010 in Paris shows the internet homepage of the English version of the search engine website Google. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty)

A new analysis from the New York Times shows that Google searches say a lot about inequality and the cultural divide in the United States. We look at the results, and any policy implications with David Leonhardt, editor of New York Times The Upshot.


David Leonhardt

Comments [8]

Robin van Velzen

This study is about the those with resources and those without resources
not cultural clustering.It good to discuss the extreme inequality which is an affront to real democracy

Aug. 21 2014 06:23 PM
Patricia from NYC

There is a Target in NYC at 116 and Mt. Pleasant Ave (FDR Drive) Also a Petco, Costco, Applebees, and some other large big box stores

Aug. 21 2014 10:13 AM
JJ from NYC

Just an aside, a "foam roller" does not tone your body; it helps with blood flow and prevents injury.

Aug. 21 2014 09:19 AM
Michelle from 10014

DuckDuckGo is my preferred search engine for privacy reasons, but do use Google occasionally. My ZIP's a high-income one (10014), but we've been here from the normal days back in the '70s, so I doubt we reflect the dominant demographic. Most recent intense searches have been:
-Health care: Finding doctors who are both on my plan and at the hospital I prefer,
-Consumerism: What on earth I can find at Target to take advantage of a gift card.

Aug. 20 2014 12:14 PM
JessieHenshaw from way uptown

With Google giving results tailored to the searcher, it may be hard to find out what these regionally popular search terms are about, if you're from another region particularly.

The differences they are picking up are sure to be much more *cultural* than economic, so I think the study would be far more interested if it didn't try to divide the world into easy and hard living. That's going to be irrelevant for locating lots of cultural clusterings and language and interest groups.

Wouldn't it be nice if they associated search results with cultural groups, and allowed you to search from the group of your choice. The information value would greatly increase it seems to me (compared to Google's effort to require everyone to search in their own self-image... anyway).

Aug. 20 2014 12:05 PM

Most recent search, in (seldom use Google): "inventory management" QuickBooks

For spelling, I use

For medical, I go first to

Aug. 20 2014 11:59 AM
Kristen from Brooklyn

Embarrassingly for me, a lot of my google searchers are random words that I'm struggling to spell.

Aug. 20 2014 11:49 AM

I remember reading that the majority of google searches are sex-related, regardless of other searches.

Furthermore, there is a startlingly -- in some cases shockingly -- wide regional range of preferences.

Last vestiges of differences in regional cultural tastes?

Aug. 20 2014 09:36 AM

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