Undergraduate Lecture Series 14: Behind the White Curtain: Search Engine Economics


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28 February 2011



Google is so ubiquitous, and so intertwined with modern life that its very name has become a verb. Peeling away the sterile white facade reveals a hive of economic activity and along with it a battery of interesting questions for social scientists to address.

In this lecture we will examine Google's place in the Internet search industry, learn why Google's biggest competitor may be itself, think about how a multi-billion dollar auction allocates the Web’s most prized real estate, and see that pay-per-click can make searching easier for everyone. In the process, economics will emerge as a powerful tool in the quest to understand social and commercial interactions, and to formulate policy for the digital age.


11 mins

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