Internet’s largest search engines not necessarily the most

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Want to know something? From weather patterns in Botswana or the world’s foremost expert on socks, all you have to do is Google it these days.

There’s no doubt the Internet has changed the way we live.

But while you take advantage of all the information superhighway offers, keep one thing in mind – even the most handy tool has its drawbacks.

For the most ubiquitous online search engines like Google or Yahoo!, making money comes before delivering quality information.

Yahoo!, for instance, lists the names of sites that advertise with it before other sites. Google gives preference to sites with which it has a partnership. That means you might not see the most relevant or most credible sites first.

Ever notice that Wikipedia shows up near the top of the results list for every search? That’s not because it is the most authoritative source; in fact, the majority of its content is written by people like us. That leaves the site, by its own admission, full of “oversights and omissions.” It shows up so high because it has a partnership with Google.

The Internet also affects our collective consciousness, because any Joe Blow with a computer can mass publish information, even if it’s completely bogus. In the past, only those with considerable funds could reach so many people.

While the freedom of information the Internet allows can be a good thing, students need to be vigilant to select credible sources.

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